COUNCIL RISKS £ MILLIONS ON ESSO BOWLING SITE

The Esso site at Bowling on the River Clyde.

By Bill Heaney

Whoever heard of anyone spending £ millions on a project they would be told little or nothing about?

Step forward then West Dunbartonshire Council.

Who else? You may well ask, but the basket case local authority who can be depended on to be right in there when it comes to spending other people’s money on pie in the sky projects.

The secrecy obsessed SNP administration would rather you were not aware of progress – or the lack of it – on an A82 relief road into Dumbarton from the Dunglass roundabout.

And the proposed clean up of the sodden podzils and oil-soaked swamps left bubbling away there when ESSO, aka Exxon Mobile, pulled out after 50 years of processing and distributing Scotland’s oil.

Exxon’s proposal seems to be that if the Council pay to clean up the mess, they’ll sell it to us – maybes aye, maybes naw.

The Democrat reported some months ago how landowners of the Bowling site, Esso, hadn’t concluded its procurement approach. And expressed our doubts if they ever would.

We took our lead from the shambolic way they have conducted their business in the east side of Scotland where there have been hundreds of complaints about the way they do business.

A update on the City Deal project provided to West Dunbartonshire councillors highlighted that it is likely the outline business case will not be delivered on time, meaning the 2025 deadline for delivery of the project is in jeopardy.

For “in jeopardy” read probably will not happen.

As at the end of September, the total expenditure on the project had been £1.477million according to the report which reads: “Spend continues to be minimised to avoid irrecoverable costs should the project not proceed in its current form.”

The project will most probably not “proceed in its current form” – if it proceeds at all.

Exxon is currently in the process of  recovering the 63-hectare site in the hope it will eventually be sold to the local authority.

The wider proposal, which is part of the benighted City Deal project, involves a massive overhaul of the former Bowling Fuel Distribution Terminal, but that could take ten years and maybe not start even then.

West Dunbartonshire Council say it is set to be transformed into a major industrial and commercial development, create 700 jobs, and would form part of plans to build a much-needed A82 relief road.


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