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Monthly News Bulletin

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Enterprise Minister to Discuss Stranraer Waterfront

ENTERPRISE Minister Jim Mather has accepted an invitation from the District of Wigtown Chamber of Commerce to come to Stranraer to discuss the town's waterfront regeneration.

The agreement comes a week after the Scottish Government were criticised by Dumfries and Galloway Council for "downgrading" the project's status.

The invitation was made to the Minister by Chamber President and business consultant Peter Jeal, three weeks before last week's announcement.

However, the Chamber has received written confirmation that Mr Mather has accepted the invitation to travel down to Wigtownshire and a meeting is expected to take place in early July.

"We are delighted that the Minister has agreed to come to Wigtownshire at the invitation of the District of Wigtown Chamber of Commerce to discuss this vitally important project, especially given last week's announcement from the xouncil that the Scottish Government is downgrading it from national to local status," Mr Jeal said.

"What is often overlooked is that the Stranraer Waterfront Regeneration Project is important for the whole of Wigtownshire, not just Stranraer. The ripple effect of this project on the rest of Wigtownshire could be quite significant as it has the potential to act as a magnet to bring people to this area."

The local authority attacked the Scottish Government for stating that it no longer sees the Waterfront project as a national priority with fears that this will lead to a significant loss of funding to kickstart it.

Despite the reaction of the council and politicians, Nationalist MSP, Alasdair Morgan accused local authority convener Ivor Hyslop of either totally misunderstanding or deliberately misrepresenting the contents of the Scottish Government's letter to the Council.

"Given the confusion over the project's status, this meeting with the Minister will be very welcome indeed," said Mr Jeal.

"We hope to receive clarification on the implications of this decision, particularly in terms of the support that this project can now expect at Government level.

"For our part, we will reinforce our view of the project's importance for the economy for the whole of West Galloway.

"Wigtownshire has far too often been overlooked in the past. Everyone here is keen to see that this doesn't happen again."

Mr Jeal, who has publicly expressed doubts about the economic claims being made by officials for a casino as a key part of the waterfront project, said the meeting is likely to take place in Stranraer.

FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK'S FREE PRESS

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