A DEAL to transfer ownership of the former Esso site at Bowling to West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) has been agreed, the local authority has announced.

Oil giant’s ExxonMobil will hand over the land which stretches between Dumbarton and Clydebank for free as well as a £1 million payment to WDC.

The site is now set to be transformed, with a major industrial and commercial development worth £34 million as well as a new 1.95km road to be built on the land.

The new road will provide an alternative route between Clydebank and Dumbarton, thus solving the major traffic problems caused by accidents on the A82 trunk road between the two towns.

ExxonMobil is currently cleaning up the toxins left at the site. 

The deal and planned regeneration have been repeatedly delayed as well as subject to opposition from private landholders and concerns from councillors about the secrecy around pollution on site.

Esso's former oil terminal is part of the Glasgow City Region Deal project between the UK and Scottish governments and the eight local councils in the Glasgow and Clyde Valley area.

Councillor Iain McLaren, WDC's convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development, said the project was expected to support up to 690 full-time jobs. He added: “The transformation of this site will be one of the biggest and most important infrastructure improvements in West Dunbartonshire’s history and will bring about real change for the area.”

Council leader Jonathan McColl called the agreement "an exciting milestone" for the project and added: “Our development also provides a much-needed Milton bypass road, removing the bottleneck that too often causes significant access issues between Dumbarton and Clydebank."

Scotland's infrastructure secretary Michael Matheson said: “It’s great to see such significant progress in delivering this transformative project."

A UK Government spokesman added: “The remediation of the former Exxon site will be undertaken in partnership with the private sector to allow a major commercial and industrial development that will support jobs and economic growth."