A NEW railway station to serve the naval base at Faslane is among the top priorities for the Helensburgh area revealed in a recent council report.

Safer trunk roads and filling in the gaps in the area’s cycling network are also contained in an ‘indicative regional space strategy’ document produced by Argyll and Bute Council officials.

The desire for a railway station at Faslane, along with better services on the West Highland rail line, ties in with the announcement last summer that the Scottish Government was to fund an £85,000 study into “transport needs and opportunities in the Helensburgh area”, with a particular focus on ways to cope with the expansion of HM Naval Base Clyde.

That study, for the Highlands and Islands Transport Partnership (Hitrans), is still being carried out, with a report to a Hitrans meeting earlier this month stating that engagement with military and civilian personnel at the base is ongoing.

READ MORE: Scottish Government to fund study into Faslane rail station

The new council document says that approximately 1,700 additional naval staff and their families are expected to be living and working in the area by 2030.

Members of the council’s planning, protective services and licensing committee discussed the report on Wednesday.

They are recommended to endorse the paper being submitted to the Scottish Government as part of the National Planning Framework 4 preparation process.

The document states: “In association with the significant investment in HMNB Clyde opportunities should be taken to improve access to it by more sustainable modes of travel.

“This requires investment in the rail network with a new station and improved services on the West Highland Line in order to encourage modal shift in travel to work.

READ MORE: Helensburgh cycle path could face even more delays, report warns

“In addition, joining up the gaps in the area’s dedicated cycle network could help to improve take-up of active travel and provide accessibility to centres of population and employment areas in West Dunbartonshire, and to Loch Lomond and the National Park.”

On the opportunities it perceives for Helensburgh town centre, the report also said: “The council has already invested significantly in the town, building the new Civic Centre in the town centre, as well as extensive town centre public realm improvements.

“Further significant investment in partnership with UK Government on a new swimming pool and leisure complex on the waterfront, together with associated improvements to town centre parking and potential for retail and commercial development, are also under way.

“Rural Growth Deal plans are being developed for the delivery of a research and innovation centre which will provide for off-base research, business and training activity associated with HMNB Clyde.

“As redevelopment opportunities within the settlement boundaries become more limited there is a need to ensure opportunities for new housing development to meet the needs of families in the area are available.”

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