For those of you who might not be aware the leader of the SNP group on Inverclyde Council, Innes Nelson, recently called for plans to be put in place for a new bridge to be built over the River Clyde connecting Gourock with Dunoon.
I know some of you will be slightly baffled by this when you take into consideration that the SNP run Scottish government recently decided to end the Cal Mac vehicular ferry from Gourock Pier to Dunoon Pier, but this is very much a serious suggestion.
Innes Nelson may have discovered that a mistake might have been made and that there might actually be some residents of Inverclyde wishing to take their motor vehicles to Dunoon after all – although if he has discovered a mistake was made, I am certain he would look to avoid dropping his party in it.
In the not so distant past the SNP decided to scrap the Glasgow Airport rail link and cut it’s funding for Riverside Inverclyde amongst other things, therefore I can’t help but wonder where this money would actually come from or how practical this idea actually is.
I did not wish to completely dismiss the idea without having some consideration about both the practicalities and the SNP suggestion that this could be used to generate jobs, however I can’t see this achieving any of the intended goals anytime soon.
The River Clyde is still used by commercial shipping and cruise liners, therefore the bridge would have to be high enough for the ships to scoot underneath. As far as Gourock goes there isn’t a lot of free land near the river that could be utilised, without damaging Lunderston bay, to give the assent before the crossing and the shortest gap across to Dunoon is approximately 2.8kms.
I have been informed that the Forth Road Bridge is approximately one full kilometre shorter than the proposed bridge to Dunoon.
I am also unsure as to the level of traffic would actually be using the bridges; my assumption would be that you have a sharp rush of traffic in the evening and morning rush hours and a fairly breezy day afterwards.
If a bridge was not able to be built tall enough it could potentially cost jobs other than create them, the cruise ships and freight that travels along the Clyde is not something that the SNP could afford ignoring.
I am certain that there are more important things to spend money on such as flood prevention, roads and jobs creation.
Innes Nelson himself as even admitted that the Scottish Government would have to come up with the cash for the development if it was ever to become a reality, but failed to state where they would acquire the funding from.
The SNP group in Inverclyde should be lobbying their friends in the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood to make Inverclyde an Enterprise zone instead of this plan which is completely unviable in the economic climate.
Enterprise Zones are springing up in the North of England as part of the UK Government attempts to boost manufacturing and other industries, the SNP should be putting a greater emphasis on getting Scottish Enterprise zones on the go instead of conjuring dream projects.
Inverclyde Council needs to ensure that there is an economy here for a bridge to deliver people to, without a healthy Inverclyde economy there would be no reason for residents of Argyll to travel into Inverclyde. We can only seriously consider building bridges across the Clyde if we know there is a healthy balance in the Scottish budget to do so.
Taking this all into consideration, I can’t help but question whether the SNP are just playing fantasy politics in Gourock in advance of next years council elections.