A NEW £1.8m food and drink enterprise hub is to be served up in Greenock.

Regeneration company Riverside Inverclyde has been given the go-ahead to create six work units for ‘start-up’ food and drink enterprises.

The new facility, the first of its kind in Scotland, will be built on the land recently cleared at the corner of Drumfrochar Road and Baker Street.

It is part of the wider £3.5m road re-alignment project being delivered by RI for the council. 

Aimed at enticing the growth of small and medium sized food and drink businesses, the building will be equipped with everything firms need to manufacture food as well as shared office space, storage, research and board room facilities.

Fiona Maguire, chief executive of RI, says the facility is an ‘incubator’ to help small businesses grow and expand.

She said: “Riverside Inverclyde is delighted to receive planning consent for Baker Street and we see this as an opportunity to deliver a first for Scotland in delivering best practice for food and drink growth. 

“We’ve already seen interest in the incubator from businesses and expect to see further demand as the project develops. 

“Alongside the road realignment project, this popular and busy corner of Greenock will have a completely new feel and flow and we look forward to getting started with this project.”

Councillor Jim Clocherty, Riverside Inverclyde board member and Inverclyde Council’s vice-convener for regeneration, also welcomed the new facility — which has been named ‘Baker Street Food and Drink Enterprises’.

He said: “This is welcome news as small businesses are the lifeblood of the economy — it is important we do what we can to help them start-up and grow. 

“The food and drink sector in Inverclyde has the potential to be an area of real growth and opportunity and Baker Street will play a key part in this.”

The hope is that companies using the site will expand before moving onto larger premises in Inverclyde, allowing a constant flow of new firms to move in. 

The development is due to begin this summer, with a completion date of early 2019, while the road realignment of Baker Street and Drumfrochar Road is due to begin in spring this year.