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Stirling and Clackmannanshire Councils have hailed today's announcement by the UK Government of a City Deal for the area as a once-in-a-generation opportunity that will help position the region as an economic and cultural powerhouse.
The news of a successful Stirling and Clackmannanshire bid was delivered as part of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's Autumn statement and negotiations will now begin on funding and delivering the ambitious plans.
Stirling Council Leader, Johanna Boyd said: "This is fantastic news for Stirling. Today's decision will be transformational for Stirling and its surrounding areas but, just as importantly, it endorses the ambition that Stirling Council and its many partners have for the area, and I am grateful to the UK Government for recognising and enabling that."
Clackmannanshire Council Leader Bobby McGill said: "We are delighted that we can now move ahead with our ambitions for Clackmannanshire. We are in an excellent position to drive this forward and deliver real change together with our people and communities."
Work on the City Deal bid started 18 months ago, and has included extensive consultation involving local people, elected members, national agencies, all types of business, the University of Stirling, Forth Valley College and the Stirling City Commission. A Stirling Pledge was created to gather public support. At its heart are a number of key projects including a Digital District that would place Stirling firmly at the forefront of digital innovation and enterprise nationally and internationally; plans to bring the River Forth back into community life as a key leisure and tourism resource; a new civic and Harbour quarter, and plans for a major City Park in the shadow of Stirling Castle.
Councillor Boyd added: "Our ambitions also go way beyond infrastructure to focus on improving the prospects and quality of life for all our people, through developments in skills and employability, social innovation, housing, transport and energy."
Stirling Council Depute Leader Neil Benny said: "Our exceptionally strong bid is as a result of all the Stirling community pulling together - the business community, the negotiating team of Council officers and the community groups who have done sterling work for Stirling."
Stirling Council Chief Executive Stewart Carruth said the ambition for Stirling had always been to benchmark itself against the best in the world: "We are already starting from a very strong base and we believe this City Deal will benefit the entire city region, boosting our reach and influence nationally and internationally and delivering a healthier, wealthier and greener future for all its people."
Brendan Dick, Director BT Scotland, and a key member of the Stirling City Commission, said: "Today's news represents a significant boost for Stirling and the surrounding areas. BT Scotland has been an enthusiastic partner in developing the City Deal bid and will continue to champion the area and everything it has to offer - to business, to residents, to students and to young people."
Professor Gerry McCormac, Principal of the University of Stirling, said: "As a centre of innovation and excellence, the University of Stirling has been closely involved in the City Deal bid and we are absolutely delighted at today's news. The University has been actively involved in encouraging staff and students to support the City Deal by signing the Stirling Pledge to help position the city as a major economic and cultural player both nationally and internationally. We can now work together to deliver on this ambitious plan to drive economic growth and revitalise the region as a world-class, dynamic and enterprising destination."