The dog’s breakfast that is Dumbarton Town Centre is scheduled for a £22 million facelift.
Picture by Sean Davenport
By Bill Heaney
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has welcomed the announcement that the Artizan shopping centre in Dumbarton has been included in the £172 million ‘levelling up fund’ which will fund eight projects across Scotland.
The share of the fund that the SNP-run West Dunbartonshire Council will receive through the leveling up initiative which was initially announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnston is almost £20 million.
The fund will help to part demolish and then redevelop the Artizan Shopping Centre into a state-of-the-art library and museum, which is in line with the council’s current plans which are to convert Glencairn House on the other side of the High Street for that purpose.
The new plan will seek to provide a high-quality public realm and 5.64km active travel improvements between Dumbarton Central Station and the town centre.
Funding to rejuvenate and rebuild the town centre is something that Jackie Baillie and thousands of local people have long called for.
Jackie Baillie MSP said: “This funding announcement is the reward for years of fighting to get our town centre the support that it needs.
“I commend Council officers who have worked with the Town Centre Regeneration Forum to transform the town and welcome these proposals.
“I have joined local people in calling for a much needed improvements to the town centre to make Dumbarton an even better place to live, shop and socialise in.
“The changes to the Artizan Centre will make a positive difference to the area.
“It is now important that these funds are released quickly and that any project has local people at its heart. I look forward to this long-awaited transformation taking place.”
The state of the Artizan Centre, which was officially opened at the end of the 1960s, and now the number of empty shops in the High Street has been a frequently expressed concern for local people for many years.
Jackie Baillie MSP and the disastrous Artizan Centre in Dumbarton.
Currently many of the shops are unoccupied or have been turned into charity shops and some have been given false frontages, which have made the street look even more derelict than it was beforehand.
“That was like putting lipstick on a corpse. We hope the £22 million will be in the Council’s bank account before the local givernment elections next May,” said local resident Hugh McDermid, of Glasgow Road.
He added: “Dumbarton has gone to the dogs. This is a chance to rectify matters. I hope the council take it with both hands.”