The gloves have come off in a fight to keep £3m Tay Cities Deal cash in Angus following a Minstry of Defence U-turn.
Angus South SNP MSP Graeme Dey has written to Scottish Secretary David Mundell after plans to build 2,500 homes on land at RM Condor on the outskirts of Arbroath were scrapped.
The airfield section of the base was due to be decontaminated by the UK Government and handed over, free of charge, to Angus Council for the construction of thousands of new homes.
The UK Government said the £3m value of the land will now be “reinvested in full in other projects in Tayside” identified in the Tay Cities Deal.
Mr Dey has urged Mr Mundell to “ensure that this funding is reserved for use in Angus”.
He said the county was “an important part of the Tay Cities region” and “it is important that the UK Government recognises this”.
“I am delighted that the Ministry of Defence has performed a U-turn on the intended disposal of a well-used chunk of RM Condor,” he said.
“The ground in question was to have been handed to Angus Council with a notional value of £3 million as part of the Tay Cities Deal for possible housebuilding.
“I have written to Mr Mundell seeking an assurance that the £3m cash the UK Government has committed to putting into the Deal in lieu of the land value will be available for projects in Angus, rather than wider Tayside.”
The Ministry of Defence U-turn comes in the wake of fears the airfield disposal would undermine the future of the 45 Commando base at RM Condor.
The £3m previously earmarked for the Condor project was in addition to the £26.5m that has been ring-fenced for Angus as part of the Tay Cities Deal.
It is understood there is nothing to say the £3m will not be spent in Angus.
For that to happen, Angus Council and other local partners, as part of the deal, would have to find local projects in which to invest the money and gain UK Government approval.
A UK Government spokesman reiterated the £3 million UK Government funding earmarked for the Tay Cities Deal Condor project will be reinvested in full in other projects in Tayside.
Angus Tory MP Kirstene Hair said: “Constituents will be questioning Mr Dey’s true motives after such a sudden burst of engagement around the Tay Cities Deal project.
“The MSP has, so far, been completely detached from the process whilst I have been campaigning for specific funding for the big issues in Angus, such as boosting broadband connectivity and tourism.
“In fact, I believe the SNP government have no firm plans to commit a single penny to Angus under the deal at all.
“That’s the question we should be asking.
“Rather, Mr Dey should avoid trying to spoil good news for Angus through scaremongering and warmly welcome the UK Government’s commitment to Angus through the long term future of RM Condor and millions through the Tay Cities Deal.”
Angus Council deputy leader Angus Macmillan Douglas said: “Yes, we are planning for the cash coming to Angus.
“We would not expect an outright commitment at this stage but this is what we are planning for.
“We shall have robust business cases for use of the money in a way that will have a multiplier effect on the whole Angus/regional economy.”