Dumbarton regeneration projects move forward
West Dunbartonshire Council is to buy the Artizan Shopping Centre for £1.7 million to progress plans to regenerate and transform Dumbarton town centre, while a state-of-the-art new library and museum in Dumbarton’s historic Glencairn House could be operational as soon as 2024.
Plans for the pedestrianised shopping precinct formed a key part of the council’s Levelling Up funding bid, which was granted last month.
Officers have been in discussion with the current owners of the centre, which sits in a prominent position in the town’s High Street, and have now negotiated the sale.
At a meeting of the infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee this week, members approved the temporary use of council capital budgets to finance the purchase until Levelling Up Funding is received.
It means plans for the future of the Artizan Centre can progress, and officers will begin looking at potential development opportunities for the centre.
Consideration will be given to how the site can be enhanced to introduce a better link to the town centre and encourage future investment on the High Street.
Councillor Iain McLaren, convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee, said: “Regenerating Dumbarton Town Centre has always been a council priority and we are doing all we can to help our high streets to thrive.
“The purchase of the Artizan fits with our ambitions and our desire to make Dumbarton town centre a vibrant, attractive place which is easily accessible by walking, wheeling and cycling.”
Diane Docherty, vice convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development, added: “I am delighted that the council was awarded additional funding for this project, and completing the purchase of the Artizan will allow us to consider how we can redevelop the site in order to boost footfall in the town centre and encourage future investment.
“We are committed to making these enhancements work for our residents and businesses and will work with them closely as this progresses.”
Councillors were also updated this week on progress with the project to transform Glencairn House with a three-floor extension to the rear overlooking the River Leven and with views towards Dumbarton Castle.
Glencairn House would display the finest historical items from the council’s heritage collection, and include a dedicated children’s space featuring a garden and story-telling tree. There will also be the usual library offer of fiction and non fiction books, as well as public computer use.
The design for the extension at the rear of the building takes inspiration from the town’s glass works industry, and the 1200-year-old Skellat Bell from the council’s own collection.
In addition to the new library, the existing facility at Strathleven Place would become a community archive and heritage space where the public will be able to engage for the first time with rare and valuable items from the local area.
The combined project was part of the council’s successful bid to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund for £19.9m.
The information was shared during an update to the infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee this week. The proposals will form a planning application expected to be submitted early next year. The committee agreed that a procurement exercise for construction can begin once planning permission is secured.
Councillor Iain McLaren said: “Our plans to transform Glencairn House - Dumbarton’s oldest building - into a new, purpose-built and modern library will give us a great state-of-the-art facility which attracts people from near and far, and ensure that our town highlights our rich heritage to both residents and visitors alike.
“The proposed plans show a real creative use of space on our high street, which is importantly sympathetic to the history of the site. I am also really encouraged to see the proposal’s connectivity with the River Leven as it is so important that Dumbarton town centre increases its interaction with the riverside. I look forward to seeing it progress in the coming months and years.”