Artizan – no community confidence that SNP council can spend the £22 million wisely.

By Lucy Ashton

A Tory “levelling up” grant of more than £19 million to buy and partly demolish Dumbarton’s central shopping precinct and regenerate the Quay has been hailed as ‘fantastic news’ for the town.

The local authority will receive £19.9m as part of an award of £172m to councils across the UK from the Levelling Up Fund.

A large part of the cash will be used for the purchase and partial demolition of the Artizan Centre shopping area off the High Street and the redevelopment of the site.

The funding will be also used for the transformation of B-listed Glencairn House into a state-of-the-art library, museum and community facility, the creation of a publicly accessible archive in the existing library building and the completion of the Connecting Dumbarton project to enhance active travel connections between the town centre, waterfront path and Dumbarton Central railway station.

Councillor Jonathan McColl, the council’s leader, said: “This is fantastic news for Dumbarton and West Dunbartonshire as a whole and we are delighted to have beaten off strong competition to receive this funding to invest in our area.”

But not everyone has confidence in the SNP administration at West Dunbartonshire Council to implement UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s pre-Christmas present to the people of Dumbarton. The SNP government in Edinburgh have had no part in this.

Outpourings of doubt and bitter criticism emerged on social media sites attacking the Council for the cack-handed way they have handled previous improvement grants which now include the £3 million for Levengrove Park in Dumbarton which has turned out to be flooded this week.

Huge lorries which carry waste including human excrement to the Auchencarroch dump site.

Meanwhile,  more bad news for the Council is that the controversial landfill site in Jamestown owes a

staggering £99 million in unpaid tax and penalties, a tribunal has confirmed.

Revenue Scotland first told the contractors Barr Environmental to pay up back in July 2018 for Scottish Landfill Tax (SLT) due, and the bill was confirmed earlier this month by the Tax Tribunal.

The firm’s Auchencarroch landfill site was found to be using materials on their site, an ancient quarry hole,  that should have been classed as waste.

Material was used for roads on site, cells (the individual portions of a landfill) and others and Barr claimed that meant they were not taxable.

Revenue Scotland, and now the First-Tier Tax Tribunal, disagreed and upheld the original tax due and penalties of £99,642,808.

West Dunbartonshire Council said they have five contracts with Barr for treating and disposing of household, bulky and organic waste – it includes human excrement from the sewage works at Dalmuir, shipped into Vale of Leven along the main roads, , as well as street sweepings and wood.

They said they are discussing the case with their legal and procurement teams.  Barr refused to comment.

One of the huge lorries which carry waste along narrow country roads behind Jamestown and Balloch to the Auchencarroch dump site. Pictures by Bill Heaney







  1. The Council knew exactly what was going on here. They knew fine well that landfill tax was being avoided. Or if they didn’t they should get the three monkey badge of hear no, see no, speak no.

    The concern now must be that the Council may be liable for some of this debt.

    The council after all knew exactly what was being disposed of, and what they were being asked to to pay. Indeed, if the council were paying SDLFT on what they knew they were disposing of, and then tax was not being paid, then there are big questions to be asked. There is more to this than meets the casual eye.

    But hey ho – it’s all part of a day in the life of one of Scotland’s finest local authorities. And we talk about, crow about how green we are. Green my arse!

    Any comment from the ruling administration on this?

    1. I think wee Greta used the A word yesterday. She had better not come to Dumbarton where telling someone to bugger off is a hanging offence. Didn’t see Lumberjack Jonathan down at the Castle waving as the Rainbow Warrior passed. As for the money, they have it to burn in Church Street. For themselves, of course. Will there be another £20,000 each for the chief officers this Christmas? I think the public should be told.

  2. Quite accurate predictions Editor. Without a shadow of a doubt the council will blow the £20m with little or nothing to show for it.

    A few million for the purchase of an absolutely hideous part empty eyesore, and then two or three million more for a partial demolition – and then what after that. A half monstrosity still standing.

    And the balance. No doubt that will all go on the new museum to be constructed out of the Glen Cairn House and that’ll be it.

    The empty shops, decrepit tenements et al will all still be there.

    Milngavie turned its High Street round very successfully. Partick and Hillhead have regenerated Dumbarton Road and Byres Road very well. In fact if you are an owner occupier in Byres Road the City Council will give a 50% grant for building fabric repair, whilst it’s zilcho here.

    Anyway to close, it might be worthy of recall that when a few years ago the slates on the roof of Glen Cairn House were being replaced, the contractor snuck in with cheap Spanish slate instead of the specified slates of Scottish provenance.

    Pay for a diamond, get a Zircon. Only in the poor toon!

    Or am I missing something?

Leave a Reply