WORK has begun on a new marine technology park that is expected to support more than 1,000 new jobs in West Dunbartonshire.

The area’s MP has hailed plans for the Scottish Marine Technology Park (SMTP), on the site of the former Carless oil refinery in Old Kilpatrick, after the Scottish Government approved a grant of nearly £2 million for the project.

Martin Docherty-Hughes recently met Malin Group managing director John MacSween to discuss the progress of the project so far.

The government grant of £1.98 million comes from the Scottish Government’s Clyde Mission fund – a £10m programme to regenerate the banks of the river between the east end of Glasgow and Gourock and bring new and sustainable jobs to the area.

The project will include a large fabrication facility and a deep-water jetty with a 1,100-tonne ship hoist – the largest of its kind in Europe.

John MacSween, managing director of the Malin Group, said: “We are excited about the potential that the SMTP offers Scotland’s marine industry, and it was encouraging to see diggers on site as the work to develop it gets under way.”

The area’s MP, Martin Docherty-Hughes, said: “I have been receiving regular updates from the Malin Group since first viewing early plans for the site. I’m grateful to their managing director for meeting with me to discuss the latest phase.”

The construction phase is set to create more than 600 short-term jobs.

In the longer run, it’s hoped that the SMTP will support an extra 1,000 jobs in marine manufacturing, engineering and retail and give the area’s economy a boost of some £125.4m a year.