Hotel, pub and restaurant for key site
A HOTEL, shops and restaurant development is set to transform a landmark site in Barrhead and create dozens of jobs, it can be revealed this week.
Talks are under way with several big-name operators about setting up on the former Spillers dog food factory site.
East Renfrewshire Council confirmed the development will potentially include a budget hotel, bringing job and tourism opportunities to Barrhead in time for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.
However, the news will come at a price for motorists, who are facing weeks of disruption on Glasgow Road when a £750,000 roundabout is built in the spring to improve access to the site.
Councillor Tony Buchanan, convener for infrastructure and sustainable growth, said: "East Renfrewshire does have a lack of hotels at the moment, and with the Commonwealth Games on the horizon, we have an opportunity to try and capitalise on it and continue to capitalise on tourism in Glasgow in the future by using Barrhead's proximity to the city as an advantage."
A council spokeswoman confirmed the plans, saying: "The masterplan [for the Spillers site] will be put to the market in 2013 and will promote a range of employment-creating uses such as a modern, light industrial, budget hotel, pub/restaurant, commercial, leisure and neighbourhood retailers.
"We already have had positive discussions with a number of interested parties, mainly household names, but they will remain confidential until they have all gone through the tender process and successful candidates are appointed."
Spillers, which employed more than 500 people in its heyday, was taken over by pet food giant Nestle Purina in 1997.
The factory was demolished in October after lying empty for nearly eight years following the shutdown of operations in 2004.
The neighbouring Scottish Water treatment works have been disused for more than 25 years, and the council has now acquired both sets of land to be used in the extensive regeneration plans for the area.
The empty site, including the Scottish Water site, total 30 acres.
Councillor Buchanan added: "This is a plan that has been on the cards for years.
"However, now we own the former Spillers land and the former Scottish Water treatment works, we have the opportunity to transform the area.
"It is a very sizeable chunk of land, and now we can enable traffic to access it and begin to market it to potential light industry companies and commercial companies."
Highways bosses are still finalising a timescale for the roadworks, but it has been suggested that the traffic on the busy route in and out of Barrhead could be managed by a contraflow system.
The roundabout will be built at the junction of Glasgow Road and Blackbyres Road.
The current junction can be a congestion hotspot at peak traffic hours during the day, and one Barrhead councillor believes the traffic benefits alone will bring a boost to the town.
Councillor Kenny Hay said: "I welcome any improvement to the traffic management in that area of the town - at the moment it can take a long time to get out of the junction at Blackbyres Road, and if you are looking at investing in an area and bringing business to that particular site, then heavy traffic problems will immediately put any prospective buyers off.
"Obviously the major benefit with this project would be the employment that is brought to the town.
"The employment opportunities that can be afforded to Barrhead people during the construction of such a site would be much welcomed, and then once any complex is completed, it would then hopefully be staffed by local people."
However Councillor Hay hopes that the developments will change people's perspective on Barrhead.
"If people are coming in to Barrhead and see the derelict factory they aren't going to get the best first impression," he continued.
"If any development is going to make it look like Barrhead is a vibrant and energetic town then I welcome it."
A council spokeswoman said: "Now that demolitions have been completed, the council is planning to construct a major new roundabout at the junction of Blackbyres Road to open up the Nestle site.
"This is part of our master plan to allow better access to the site as well as the former Scottish Water land. Approval is being sought in December for this £750,000 project.
"Meantime, in addition to the roundabout works, we will also use some money to remediate the site to make it a more attractive investment and development opportunity."
The announcement follows news a housing development is in the pipeline for one of Barrhead's other wasteland sites, the Volvo truck depot on Kelburn Street.
Councillor Buchanan added: "The work going into the town and the investment are significant, and we are beginning to see change for the better.
"It's fantastic that even in these times of financial austerity, we are still able to move forwards and deliver the regeneration of Barrhead."
This article appeared in Barrhead News 28 Nov 12