THE regeneration masterplan for Bowling Basin has been given the green light by council planners.

However, planning permission was granted in principle and subject to a number of conditions which will have to be adhered to, including no more than 75 units being built on the site without further planning consent.

Scottish Canals, who own and manage the site, hope to revitalise the area with housing, improved public areas, and better access to the site to boost visitor numbers – an investment in conjunction with partners in excess of £10million.

Discussions between Scottish Canals and West Dunbartonshire Council on the redevelopment have been ongoing for a number of years, and this is the first in a long term process for the owners who have already invested £2million in the area.

This application follows the completion of the first phase of bridge and arches improvement works undertaken in the 2014.

The masterplan was put together with ideas which were discussed by local residents during the Bowling Basin charrette in 2014, and Scottish Canals seek to develop its potential in line with these ideas.

Phases one and two of the plans have already been approved, these include a refurbishment of the railway arches as commercial and retail units for small-scale businesses and public realm improvements to the hard and soft landscaping around the Lower Basin.

Phases three and four include upgrading the entrance into the site, building a new road bridge across the canal at the eastern end of the site, a residential development of 75 units to the east of the canal basins to be used for sustainable high quality housing, a creation of a linear park along the old railway bridges and a woodland hub for outdoor activities.

Councillor George Black welcomes the plans, he told the Reporter: “This proposal ticks several boxes regeneration for the area Scottish Canals are big investors in local areas with big ideas, Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies being prime examples, also housing is included in the plans.

“I would have liked more social housing at affordable rents to allow younger people to remaim in the village but it is to be welcomed in general terms.”

Christopher Breslin, Strategic Planning and Design Manager at Scottish Canals, told the Reporter last month the company is “committed to ensuring Bowling plays a vital role in the history of Scotland's canals”.

He added: “Working with the local community and our partners at West Dunbartonshire Council, we’ve developed a shared vision to help safeguard Bowling’s rich heritage and build for its future and have already invested almost £2 million in the area.

“These plans set out how we hope to drive forward the next stage of the regeneration of the area, bringing further investment, employment opportunities and housing to Bowling, and developing a fantastic tourism and leisure destination fitting of the western gateway to the Forth and Clyde Canal.”