A DECISION to snub a multi-million pound bid to regenerate Barrhead has been branded “incredibly disappointing.”

East Renfrewshire Council applied for £20million via the UK Levelling Up Fund to transform the town, as well as make major improvements in Thornliebank.

The plans for Barrhead included a new public park in the town centre, a heritage trail and major changes to Main Street, while proposals for Thornliebank featured a new public square and improved links to the health centre.

However, the bid has been knocked back by the UK Government, sparking fears the programme could be scrapped.

Council leader Owen O’Donnell said the decision to reject the application is “very disappointing.”

He added: “These projects, totalling £20million, would have been transformational for Barrhead and Thornliebank.

“The plans would have made a real difference for our residents and businesses – improving the local surroundings and delivering much-needed community facilities.

“We have requested feedback from the UK Government and will continue to develop the proposals and seek alternative funding sources.”

Plans for the Barrhead transformation feature a new park between Main Street and Church Street, while a heritage trail would use light projections to change the colour of the Levern Water.

There are also proposals to remove or redesign the central reservation along Main Street to provide more space for walking and cycling.

Other projects in the funding bid included a civic space in Main Street, where pop-up markets and other events could take place, as well as improvements to Barrhead Burgh Hall and the James McGuire Building.

Improvements in Thornliebank included a new public square near Thorntree Hall.

Councillor Chris Lunday, who represents Barrhead, Liboside and Uplawmoor, said the snub from the UK Government is “incredibly disappointing.”

He added. “The plans would have improved the town centres in Barrhead and Thornliebank.

“This money was supposed to replace the EU funding we lost because of Brexit but Scotland has lost out and East Renfrewshire has received no funding whatsoever.”

Councillor Annette Ireland, of the Clarkston, Netherlee and Stamperland ward, added: “I am very disappointed that East Renfrewshire Council lost out on the bid for much-needed funds for Barrhead and Thornliebank.

“The council officers worked extremely hard on their proposals and this would benefit the whole community.”

However, the UK Government defended its decision.

A spokesperson said: “The Levelling Up Fund is investing in infrastructure that improves everyday life across the UK, spreading opportunity to historically overlooked areas.

“All projects were subject to a rigorous assessment process under robust, fair and transparent rules, with no involvement of local MPs in the selection process.”