THE Scottish Government has been asked to give special priority status to a major regeneration project to encourage more investors to come forward.

The rebirth of the huge, vacant former Ravenscraig steelworks, in Motherwell, has been ongoing for several years with new housing developments, a multi-million pound sports centre and a new college already on the site.

However, a Lanarkshire MSP is concerned about the pace of development and is seeking national status from the Government to take it further forward.

Richard Lyle, SNP MSP for Central Scotland, asked if ministers would consider this special status.

He asked the Government: "What incentives or help it will provide to companies wishing to invest in the regeneration of Ravenscraig in order to speed up the project?"

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said cash invested by the Government was expected to lead to more than four times as much coming from the private sector, but that other mechanisms including Tax Incremental funding (TIF) was expected to be considered later this year.

She said approval for Phase 2 was granted in 2011 and that the £73m invested would lever in £425m from the private sector.

Phase two of the project involves development of the town centre, with retail, leisure, and community facilities.