By Bill Heaney
A redevelopment plan has been produced by West Dunbartonshire Council for the Artizan Centre in Dumbarton.
My advice to the council is that the recently elected Labour administration must do better than this and should rip up the SNP plan and begin again.
The plan is so disappointing and so lacking in novel or inspiring ideas that it’s depressing, really tragic that this is the best we can come up with in the 21st century.
The council claim they consulted widely on what should replace the concrete monstrosity that is the centre at present. Did they consult you?
When Labour were elected in May we expected that they would take all the rubbish ideas foisted on this long suffering community by the previous SNP administration and bin them.
Why isn’t that happening then? Why are we being stuck with this plan which has been put together by well paid local council officials who appear not to know their Artizan from their Eastfield?
If someone came along to a local school, a nursery school even, and told the pupils that there was £20 million to spend from the leveling up fund put together by Boris Johnston before he was so ignominiously thrown out of Downing Street then I am certain they could do better than what councillors were shown at a meeting last week.
Now that Boris has gone and been replaced as Prime Minister by the equally incompetent Liz Truss, we have the SNP’s Ferry Queen, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, ensconced in the Holyrood parliament, not to mention the SNP Lord Provost of Glasgow selling off the Kelvin Hall.
And then we are saddled with the SNP-backed local Health Board, stuffed with forelock touchers and place men, about to land us in it for their negligence and incompetence over the disgraceful shambles at the near £1 billion Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
I suppose on this showing that we are entitled to conclude that government in this country at every level is what one politician this week called an “omni-shambles”. Who can deny it?
Meanwhile, someone should take the council’s Labour leader Martin Rooney, left, away and give him a shake.
I see from photographs that Martin has been working on improving his sartorial standards and that he has the look of a concerned middle-aged man who has recently been at the dye bottle to improve his appearance.
If only he would divert his attention to Dumbarton’s appearance.
It should not have been hard for any highly paid council official – and, yes, they are generously rewarded from the public purse – to know the first thing we need to do with the Artizan Centre is change its name, which conjures up visions of what it really is – out of date and down at heel.
Also, the Labour council should come up with a plan which I would suggest should include a new Dumbarton health centre.
The old Dixon glass works site overlooking the River Leven between the new bridge and the railway might be ideal for a new hotel, which could replace the Dumbuck Hotel for visitors, affordable wedding receptions and functions. The Station Hotel perhaps?
A new health centre could be built on the site of the Rialto Cinema and Dumbarton Bowling Club, the so-called Big Green, could move to the Dixon BC in Kirktonhill or the Townend BC off Townend Road, which have outgrown the demand for people to join their clubs.
Dear reader, I have lots of ideas for what I think the new Dumbarton needs and should look like and one of the council’s – that we should have a route from Dumbarton Central to Dumbarton Castle – is not high on my wanted list.
We have the start of one of these routes along the Leven bank at the moment, but it’s far from finished and won’t be for some time.
No doubt, you have lots of ideas yourself. If that is so then don’t be feart to tell your councillor what’s on your mind.
After all, most of them are receiving £25,000 a year for representing you – some of them are on double that – and officials like the ones who have produced this farcical plan for the town centre have packages which bring them in £150,000 a year and a guaranteed golden parachute when they retire and hand in their laptop.
The Rialto cinema (left) could be replaced with a new health centre, such as this one at Clydebank.