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National Planning Framework for Scotland




photo146. This section relates the vision to 2025 to the broad natural zones of Scotland to provide spatial perspectives for the Central Belt, East Coast, Ayrshire and the South-West and Rural Scotland. The Central Belt and the East Coast are the dominant strategic corridors of communication for the Lowlands. Ayrshire and the South-West play an important role as Scotland's western gateway. Rural Scotland encompasses the Northern Highlands and Islands, the Central Highlands and the Southern Uplands as well as lowland rural areas such as parts of Aberdeenshire, Angus, Ayrshire, Perthshire, Fife, East Lothian and the Borders. In the Central Belt, the Clyde Corridor and West Edinburgh are identified as areas where major change is already occurring and the scale and complexity of the issues to be addressed means that co-ordinated action is needed in the national interest. Throughout Scotland, the challenge will be to reflect the perspectives for the Central Belt, East Coast, Ayrshire and the South-West and Rural Scotland in the development of strategies for the city regions and rural areas and the ongoing activities of the Executive, public agencies and local government.


147. The relationship between Edinburgh and Glasgow is of key importance. Viewing the two cities as complementary will benefit the Central Belt and the Scottish economy as a whole. Central Scotland as a destination for business investment, living and tourism is important in the European and global contexts. From this perspective, Edinburgh and Glasgow should be seen as two economic and cultural anchors linked by a fast, efficient, high quality transport system.

148. There is a need to promote sustainable development within a coherent settlement strategy and address inequalities in economic opportunity and quality of life. In the East, connectivity is being addressed through the West Edinburgh Planning Framework. To the West, there is scope for integrating Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire more fully into the economy of the Central Belt. The economic potential of Central Scotland can be significantly enhanced through investment in environmental improvement, including the development of community woodlands and the greening of derelict land. Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire, Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and East Fife are areas where there is a need to strengthen environmental quality. There are further environmental, recreational and economic opportunities associated with the Forth and Clyde and Union Canals and the development of the Central Scotland Forest.

149. West Edinburgh is the main gateway to Scotland's capital and the West Edinburgh/South Fife area has been identified as a key economic development zone by Scottish Enterprise. Mitigating the adverse impacts of committed developments and realising the opportunities for airport expansion are key challenges. The West Edinburgh Planning Framework addresses issues of congestion, the integration of land use and transport and the provision of modern transport infrastructure at a strategic location of national importance. It highlights the unique opportunity which West Edinburgh offers as an international business location. Objectives include:

  • realising the potential of the area for high quality economic development;
  • providing a rail link to the airport;
  • creating a high quality transport interchange at the airport;
  • introducing a rapid transit tram service; and
  • maintaining the strategic role of Edinburgh's Green Belt.

The West Edinburgh Planning Framework will be reviewed in the light of the proposals for the expansion of Edinburgh Airport contained in the Air Transport White Paper.

150. In the Edinburgh city region priority is being given to developing the complementarity of the locations which make up the Lothian Science Zone and improving the connectivity of the gateway facilities at Edinburgh Airport, Grangemouth and Rosyth. The A8000 will be upgraded to provide a direct connection between the Forth Bridge and the M8. A new station has been opened on the main Glasgow to Edinburgh railway to serve Edinburgh Park and South Gyle. Redevelopment in North Edinburgh between Leith and Granton is creating an attractive and competitive waterfront area for the capital.


151. In West Central Scotland there are particular opportunities to improve settlement structure and create much more attractive environments for living and working. Scottish Enterprise has identified the Clyde Corridor as a strategic economic development zone. On the West side of Glasgow, private investment is beginning to transform the Clyde Waterfront, creating new opportunities for economic activity. To the East, the construction of the M74 Extension will greatly improve the accessibility of large areas, providing major opportunities for urban regeneration and new development. The Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Structure Plan identifies the Clyde Waterfront and the "Clyde Gateway" area as priorities for regeneration and renewal.

152. A recent OECD review identified the Clyde Waterfront as a location offering outstanding potential for economic and social renewal and there is already a great deal of development underway. In 2001, the Executive established the Clyde Waterfront Working Group in recognition of the major opportunities which the area offers for creating new locations for business growth, learning and living at the heart of Scotland's biggest city region. The vision developed by the Working Group is set out in Clyde Rebuilt: A National Development Opportunity. Projects include the development of an international financial services district at Broomielaw and Tradeston; a digital media quarter at Pacific Quay; a new national arena immediately to the east of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre; and mixed residential, business and leisure development at Glasgow Harbour, Renfrew Riverside and Clydebank. There are nine SIP areas in or close to the Waterfront and an important objective is to connect disadvantaged communities to new economic opportunities. There is also a need to ensure that the housing provided in the new riverfront communities caters for a wide range of needs and sub-markets.


153. The private sector, councils, agencies and the Executive will need to work closely together to ensure that the potential of the Waterfront is unlocked. The Clyde Waterfront Working Group has adopted a co-ordinated approach to river engineering and flood risk management, providing access to key waterfront locations, derelict land remediation, and improving water supply and drainage. The framework and action plan which they have prepared will be important in informing the way forward.

154. The East side of Glasgow, together with adjoining parts of Lanarkshire contain some of Scotland's poorest communities and a concentration of vacant and derelict land. Committed investment in transport infrastructure offers major opportunities to promote economic activity, improve the environment and close the opportunity gap between this area and other parts of Scotland. However, there are also very substantial surface water drainage issues to be addressed. The major engineering works required for the M74 Extension and East End Regeneration Route are an opportunity to address many of these. To realise the full potential of the area, it will be important to ensure that major transport, drainage infrastructure and land and neighbourhood renewal projects are taken forward in a co-ordinated way, with an eye to improving connectivity and environmental quality across Central Scotland as a whole.

155. Good transport connections make Gartcosh and Bishopton the preferred locations for long-term expansion to the east and west of Glasgow. Gartcosh, Ravenscraig and Eurocentral are key locations for regeneration and renewal in the Lanarkshire economic development zone. Settlement restructuring associated with the redevelopment of the Ravenscraig site offers opportunities to improve the quality of the environment and services and to promote more sustainable access patterns in that part of Lanarkshire. Reopening the rail line between Airdrie and Bathgate will make both of these towns attractive locations for new development and this offers opportunities for creating higher quality urban environments. There is also a need to realise the potential offered by Motherwell's location on the West Coast main rail line.

photo156. While the greatest opportunities for reusing previously developed land lie in Glasgow and the Clyde Valley, the demand for land for new development is focused more strongly on the East. Even with a more even pattern of economic activity, there will be a need to accommodate a substantial growth in the number of households in or close to the Edinburgh city region over the next 25 years. Exceptionally high residential land prices in Edinburgh indicate a growing imbalance between demand and supply. Priority must be given to ensuring that the supply of development land in and around the city is adequate, that major sites identified for housing are made available in good time, and that there is adequate provision of social housing.

157. Strengthening rail and road links north of the Forth will ease congestion on routes farther south, support the developing gateway role of Rosyth, and help to create a more attractive freight route between Ireland and the Continent. Stirling, Falkirk and Grangemouth are key centres in the Central Scotland economic development zone. Across the Central Belt there is a need to improve public transport and interchange facilities. The towns of the Central Belt need good public transport links to Glasgow and Edinburgh to provide access to jobs and city facilities and to make them attractive locations for new business investment. There may be potential for the development of commuter ferry services on both Forth and Clyde.

158. The Clyde's rich maritime heritage and the outstanding environmental assets of the Firth of Clyde and the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park can be used to promote a stronger tourism and leisure economy in areas to the west of Glasgow, such as Inverclyde and West Dunbartonshire. Good links through Glasgow to the rest of Scotland will be crucial in making this happen.

159. The Strategic Projects Review will identify and appraise options for improved connectivity across the Central Belt. The appraisal will relate major opportunities for economic growth to the future shape of the transport infrastructure, and will carefully assess the very large capital costs involved.