A GROUP of MSPs have raised concerns over a multi-million pound package of investment that has been earmarked for East Renfrewshire.

The Barrhead News has previously told how funding worth £44million is on its way to the area under the Glasgow City Deal project.

As part of the deal, a new railway station is planned at Barrhead South, on the Glasgow to Neilston line, with a bus interchange providing improved public transport connectivity.

Aurs Road is also to be improved, including the creation of a new roundabout and replacement of a weak bridge, while Balgraystone Road, opposite St Luke’s High, will be reconstructed to provide improved access and pave the way for the development of 200 new homes.

East Renfrewshire Council (ERC) has said the funding will be a major boost to the local economy.

However, MSPs on Holyrood’s local government and communities committee have said the plans, as well as City Region Deals for other parts of the country, have “significant” problems that need to be addressed.

The committee said there was some “scepticism about what is being promised,” particularly regarding forecast job numbers.

A report from MSPs also stressed that members of the committee were “not convinced” about the selection process for projects to be taken forward as part of the deals and it was “not clear” how remote or rural areas would benefit.

SNP MSP Bob Doris, who chairs the committee, said: “It’s clear from the evidence we have heard and our committee visits that there are significant issues with City Region Deals that must be addressed.

“That’s why we strongly recommend that all governments, national and local, work together and agree to a single focus, as a key priority should be maximising the benefits for local communities.”

The City Region Deals encompass a total of 26 projects and are an agreement between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and eight local authorities, including ERC and neighbouring Renfrewshire Council.

East Renfrewshire’s £44m investment is focused on six key projects around the M77 Strategic Corridor, designed to provide economic benefits through employment, recreational, tourism, residential and business opportunities.

Councillor Tony Buchanan, leader of ERC, told the Barrhead News: “The City Deal projects will play an important part in developing East Renfrewshire’s local economy, as well as creating jobs and improving business opportunities.

“We are committed to delivering a better future for all of our residents and these projects will play a major part in helping us to achieve this goal.

“East Renfrewshire has already delivered the first City Deal project with the opening of Crossmill Business Centre and we are moving forward with our plans for our other key developments.”

The main aims of the City Deal in East Renfrewshire are to improve the local transport network and connections between communities, deliver regeneration and development projects, support business growth, create employment opportunities, enhance leisure and tourism and encourage private sector investment into the area.

Areas earmarked for investment include the Levern Works, with the former factory site now identified as being suitable for business, retail and leisure opportunities.

There are also plans in place to transform the Dams to Darnley Country Park into a ‘must visit’ leisure destination, including a visitor centre, wakeboard park and boardwalk.

Proposals include providing safe and direct access to the country park, the development of the first 200 of around 1,000 houses in Barrhead South and access to a new purpose-built rail station and bus interchange.

There will also be a business incubation hub coming to Newton Mearns at the Greenlaw Business Centre, meeting a growing demand for flexible business space.

The City Deal is also set to extend the success of the Barrhead Foundry by creating additional business space, learning opportunities and other services in Barrhead town centre.