The site of Michelin’s tyre factory in Dundee could attract more jobs than existed before, according to the city’s council leader.
The French manufacturer announced last November that the plant would close by mid-2020, with the loss of all 850 jobs.
John Alexander, SNP leader of Dundee City Council, says there’s been “significant” interest in the site at Baldovie from the public and private sector.
He added that had been “a hell of a lot of progress” in efforts to secure opportunities for the Michelin Dundee workforce and a potential repurposing of the plant.
“We need to work quite quickly and I am very conscious of the timescale we are working towards. Within that 18 months, I want to see things on site that are providing real jobs and opportunities for people,” he said.
Mr Alexander, who sits on the Michelin Dundee Action Group, a collective aiming to find positive outcomes from the closure, spoke out following Tuesday’s royal visit by the Earl and Countess of Strathearn.
The action group signed a memorandum of understanding with bosses of the French firm last month.
It will see Michelin work with agencies to create a viable future for the site, and potentially hundreds of jobs.
Mr Alexander said: “I would want to be in a position where we have the site working for the same number of staff or more in the future. That might be five or 10 years down the line but we have to be clear about what our ambitions are.
“What we cannot do, and what we will not roll over and accept easily is a position where that site has nobody working on it, and then we start to build up a new workforce or a new operation, whatever that might look like.”
Mr Alexander said the group was looking to “bring things on site sooner rather than later and develop them into something meaningful” so current employees can be transitioned into other skilled jobs.
He added: “We are now focusing on specific strands to really hone in on what we want the site to look like. We have generated significant private sector interest and other interested parties wanting to come along.”
Finance secretary Derek Mackay, who flew out to France for talks with Michelin bosses following the announcement of the Baldovie plant’s closure, said the Scottish Government will do “everything we can”.