SNP councillors in Glasgow have accused a Labour MSP of insulting the Drumchapel community, after he questioned whether a funding bid to regenerate the area was a “top priority” for the city.

Glasgow City Council put forward seven projects for investment through the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund, and an application to transform Drumchapel town centre was successful, with almost £15m allocated.

Following the decision, Paul Sweeney MSP, who represents Glasgow at Holyrood, suggested council officials had foisted “their pet projects onto elected members” in an interview with The Herald.

In response, Cllr Ruairi Kelly, SNP, said the MSP’s “attack” on the funding award is “astonishing, somewhat contemptuous and an insult to the community”. He added it was “shameful” that Mr Sweeney called “into question the integrity” of council officials.

Sweeney, who had supported a proposed bid to renovate the derelict Springburn Winter Gardens, an A-listed glasshouse, said the funding is “welcome news” for Drumchapel, but “much more effort must go into regenerating the north east of the city, which has been continually overlooked, and that includes the ward that Cllr Kelly represents”.

He added he makes “no apology” for advocating for the interests of Springburn, which is “one of the most economically deprived communities in Scotland”.

READ MORE: Labour's Paul Sweeney defies party over proposed ban on MSPs standing for Westminster

The SNP’s two councillors for Drumchapel, Anne McTaggart and Fyeza Ikhlaq, have complained to Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar about the MSP’s comments, calling for disciplinary action to be taken. They have also written to Glasgow Labour leader George Redmond and Labour’s Drumchapel councillors, Patricia Ferguson and Paul Casey, to ask if they support his views.

At a full council meeting yesterday, Cllr McTaggart raised the “churlish and inappropriate public comments”. She asked Cllr Kelly, city convener for neighbourhood services and assets, if he shared her “bitter disappointment”.

Cllr Kelly said Sweeney had “tarnished the long-standing call by residents of Drumchapel for much-needed regeneration”, adding officials had “put time and expertise into securing these funds”. “It was also a process that all parties were involved in, I do agree that was shameful and I hope that he would reflect on his comments.”

Bailie Ferguson said the Labour councillors are “very much in support” of the funding bid and “have been discussing this with the community for quite some time”. She added: “If I have a disappointment, it is that, given the award is still provisional, that some seem to be wanting to create political point scoring over this particular issue. 

“This is a time that we should be building consensus around this funding and persuading those who are doubtful that they are wrong, because they are.”

Cllr Kelly said he agreed political point scoring was “contemptible”, especially when a Labour member was “advocating for a project that they were personally involved with, at the expense of communities in Glasgow”.

Sweeney said Springburn has had “no significant capital investment projects for the last 15 years”. “The effort to bring Springburn Winter Gardens back into working order is a cross-party charitable endeavour to regenerate one of the most economically deprived communities in Scotland and I make no apology for strongly and persistently advocating for its interests.

“Springburn Winter Gardens is the only Glasgow City Council-owned A-listed building on the Buildings At Risk Register so it is bewildering that SNP councillors don’t think that that should be a high priority for investment.”

The Drumchapel bid was one of seven submitted by the council for the second round of Levelling Up funding, when none of the city’s applications were successful. However, the government chose not to run a new competition for the third round, instead selecting “high quality” round two bids.

Glasgow was previously awarded £13m in the first round for the redevelopment of Pollok Park’s stables and sawmill. Levelling Up secretary Michael Gove has said the fund will bring “transformational change in communities that have, for too long, been overlooked and undervalued”.