Ahead of our Virtual Scotland Development Conference on the 24th September we’ve been speaking exclusively with Martin McKay – Executive Director of Regeneration of Clyde Gateway, who’s one of our speakers on the day. We’ve been discussing the impressive project, their approach to procurement and sustainability, and more…

Q. Clyde Gateway is one of Scotland’s biggest and most ambitious regeneration programmes which has been brought forward in a partnership between Glasgow City Council, South Lanarkshire Council and Scottish Enterprise with the support of the Scottish Government – how did that partnership form and what were then initial aims?

Clyde Gateway was one of the original pathfinder URC’s and we remain as the last URC in its original form. The partner’s recognised the need for long-term and comprehensive investment in the East End that addressed opportunity and need. Clyde Gateway’s strategic aims have remain unchanged too – sustainable place transformation, developing community capacity and increasing economic activity which we now summarise as people, place and jobs.

Q. Your 12 years into the 20-year programme – what’s been developed so far and what’s the measures of success?

Clyde Gateway is very much a partnership and we have benefited hugely from the major investment in the M74 completion and the 2014 commonwealth games. These were key dependencies for Clyde Gateway without which we would not have been able to lever the investment into property developments which include Clyde Gateway East and Rutherglen Links which are now nearing full completion and home to a range of businesses. We’ve also enjoyed success with our Red Tree Business Suites brand as well as welcoming major public sector occupiers like Police Scotland. We monitor nine KPI measures and the stand out is that over 5,000 jobs have brought to the area with many going to local people.

Q. What do the next 8-years look like – what more has to be developed within the 840-hectare area? And what sort of companies are you still looking to meet to bring forward these projects alongside you?

Our focus is firmly on our strategic sites in Dalmarnock and Magenta – we’ve invested into remediation and infrastructure to develop a platform for investment. The location is on the river with great access to public transport, walking and cycling. Both locations feature in the Scottish Government Green Investment Portfolio and will have district heating and cooling available. At Magenta we have a partnership with Highbridge Properties and we are working with them to attract large corporate occupiers as well as targeting companies in the local market. This approach can provide jobs so that existing communities can positively benefit from development contributing to the wider regeneration objectives. 

Q. How does the procurement process tend to work on the projects you’re bringing forward?

We are contracting authority so Scottish Government and EU procurement rules apply. We know how much effort goes in to bidding for projects so we try to keep the process as simple and quick as possible and make extensive use of Public Contracts Scotland. We also need to be flexible and we do use frameworks such as Scape and Crown Commercial Services.

Q. The coronavirus pandemic has made a number of developers re-look at their plans – as people begin to relook at how they look to utilise space and locations. Are you actively re-looking at your own plans?

We are continually assessing the market and our view is positive as we think there is a unique opportunity for Clyde Gateway as we have inherent resilience and flexibility to respond to a post COVID environment.  We’ve also been considering ‘COVID overlays’ for projects where we can introduce measures now that can be reversed if no longer required.

Q. Although the need to think about Climate Change was a focus when the scheme kickstarted it’s become even more prevalent over the past few years – with a Climate Emergency being announced across a number of Council’s. How’re you future-proofing the programme with sustainability and climate change in mind?

We have taken a sustainable approach since the outset with an Energy and Carbon Masterplan. Our Investment to date in Clyde Gateway has been designed to unlock development potential by the adoption of long term sustainable approaches to infrastructure reuse and development. Proposals now include well advanced district heating and cooling alongside climate mitigation measures and building performance standards.

Q. You’ve been at the organisation since the outset– what’s your proudest moment?

I’ve been lucky enough to see the project from the start and it is a huge team effort so I’m always proud of my colleagues and how hard they work to bring benefits to our communities. The 2014 Games was a real highlight but if I had to pick one project it would be the ‘Smart Bridge’ – it was the first bridge I’d been involved in and it’s so hard to imagine the area without it now.

Clyde Gateway will be featured on our Scotland Development Conference. You can click here: https://www.built-environment-networking.com/event/scotland-development-conference-2020/