Former John Brown’s shipyard to be transformed

The Titan Crane in Clydebank . Picture: HeMedia
The Titan Crane in Clydebank . Picture: HeMedia
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It gave the world some of the finest liners ever to set sail, with the Queen Elizabeth 2 its crowning glory.

Now, the site of the historic shipyard which helped spread Scotland’s reputation for boat building is to be transformed into a new community.

The former John Brown’s shipyard in the West Dunbartsonshire town of Clydebank built some of the most esteemed ships in the world, including the Lusitania and the Queen Mary.

Its most famous vessel, the QE2, was known only as “job number 736” until she was officially launched by the Queen in 1967. Over the next 41 years, the liner played host to millions of passengers.

However, the yard that gave rise to the ship has been derelict for years, with a number of regeneration projects failing to take off.

But in an ambitious masterplan approved by councillors, Clydeside Regeneration, the owners of the 23 hectare site, now known as Queens Quay, intend to revamp it over the course of the next decade.

The blueprint includes around 1,000 new homes, retail and leisure outlets, a care home and a health centre. The centrepiece of the development will be the refurbished fitting-out basin of the old yard and the Titan Crane visitor attraction.

It also hoped that a district heating scheme will be created that would be powered by extracting energy from the river basin. If put in place, it would be the first project of its kind in Scotland.

Last year, West Dunbartonshire Council agreed to invest £15 million towards the redevelopment. Its planning committee yesterday agreed to grant permission in principle for the scheme.

Lawrence O’Neill, convener of planning, said: “This will be the most significant development in Clydebank for a generation and I’m delighted to see it moving to the next stage.

“The plans that we have agreed to approve will help to create a new civic heart for Clydebank, which is extremely exciting.”

Paul O’Donnell, from Clydeside Regeneration, said: “We aim to create an esplanade along the entire frontage of the Clyde and round the basin, opening up this area of Clydebank for the first time.”

The first phase of the development will include essential infrastructure works such as repairs to quay walls and the creation of a new road layout.

Once this work is complete the development of a care home and health centre will be set to begin, with the housing, retail and leisure elements to follow.