TOWN CENTRE: Have your say on the Artizan Centre redevelopment


Residents are being urged to give their views on the redevelopment of Dumbarton’s Artizan Centre as part of a consultation launched on Thursday.

It’s not as if hundreds nay thousands of people haven’t already told the Council exactly what they think of the concrete monstrosity.

But, with all the money in the world to squander, they are asking our opinion again. Skint or not skint.

It’s a case of Play it again Sam from the film Casablanca. Humphrey Bogart doesn’t live in what once was the Vennel and he never has, although the great man and and his moll Lauren Bacall may have appeared in The Rialto more than once or twice.

If the Council are hoping for ideas that will work to come from residents then it’s going to be a case of Not a Chance, Martin or You must be Kidding Douglas.

If you don’t want to see £20 million of public money squandered then the Council will have to look elsewhere. They have a track record for not listening to anything we have to say.

We don’t have award winning architects, town planners and designers in Dumbarton — and we are unlikely to have in the next few years.

I remember the last lot from back in the Sixties, Gardner, Preston and Strebel, who took an office in the town centre they designed.

It was never much good and it certainly didn’t improve with age.

It was made spectacularly worse by those eejits amongst us who thought it was a great idea to put packets of soap powder stolen from the old Hay’s supermarket into the water feature.

That put the then Council in soapy bubble – and then some. Up to their necks in it.

Then they thought it would be a fine idea to put the Napier Engine in the space where the water feature once was, but that didn’t work either. It ended up down at the Castle.

And then there was the street furniture. Wrought iron and painted bright blue. That didn’t work either. The shops emptied swifter than the pint glasses round in McCafferty’s pub.

Then the Council successfully applied for Levelling Up Funding in 2021 and were awarded £19.9 million to deliver three projects which will enhance Dumbarton Town Centre.

We weren’t told initially that it was THREE projects, just that it was the town centre that was to be brought into the 21st century.

But the Council, in their wisdom (ahem) chose to include Glencairn House in that and have come up with a laughable plan to provide a museum, a library and peace and quiet for readers just above the beer garden for the Captain James Lang pub next door. Noise? What noise is that?

They are telling us now that the cash, delivered to our door by none other than the arch Conservative Boris Johnston – remember him? – will be used for the acquisition, part demolition and preparation for redevelopment of the Artizan Centre.

And they are conning us further by spinning that “since the award, a range of preparatory work has been undertaken at the site, with next steps including developing detailed designs and obtaining planning permission in principle.

“Ahead of the formal submission of a planning application, views are being sought from the community about potential uses for the site.”

Has anyone seen the results of that preparatory work? Answers on the back of an envelope please.

And that we’ll all have a say in the finished item which, if we do, and some of the ideas I have seen and heard about are taken on board by the Council, then we’ll have a right pig’s breakfast at the heart of our community.

Everyone, who includes those who consider the appalling structure behind Glencairn House to be useful and attractive, will have their say in our future.

As well as an online consultation running for seven weeks, two in-person Public Consultation events will be held to allow business owners, residents and other interested parties to share their views.

Labour councillors David McBride and Lawrence O’Neill are in charge of the project.

Councillor David McBride, Convener for Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development said: “The Levelling Up Funding has given us a fantastic opportunity to consider projects that will improve the look and feel of Dumbarton Town Centre for everyone.

“The Artizan Centre is a key element of the Council’s plans to regenerate and transform the area, and we are looking at how it can be enhanced to introduced better links to the town centre as well as encourage future investment on the High Street.

“We want to ensure that residents’ opinions are gathered at an early stage of the project, and I would encourage all members of the community to participate in this consultation and share their feedback on how they believe this site would be best used.

“As always, the information gathered through our consultations will inform the eventual design, so it is an extremely important part of the process.”

They couldn’t put a nut in a monkey’s mouth. Have you see their attempt at painting Station Road like Joseph’s coat of many colours? And why haven’t they ever complained about that roundabout at Lomondgate?

Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, Vice Convener for Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “In recent years we have completed a number of regeneration projects around West Dunbartonshire, including at Queens Quay, Connecting Clydebank and at the Waterfront Path in Dumbarton.

“Each of these projects was delivered with input from the surrounding communities, taking on board the feedback that was received, and the plans for the Artizan Centre will be no different.

“We are getting ever closer to delivering our ambitious Levelling Up Fund projects, and I have no doubt that when the redevelopment of the Artizan Centre is complete, it will boost footfall in the town centre.

“We are committed to making these enhancements work for our residents and businesses and will work with them closely as this progresses.”

Boosting footfall in the Town Centre turned out to be a disaster when then CEO Joyce White of unhappy memory and her cack-handed management team told us that refurbishing the Burgh Hall at a cost of £16 million and counting would increase foot-fall. It didn’t. It made things worse.

To participate in the online consultation please visit:

Feedback can also be submitted during two in-person Public Consultation events are being held in the Artizan unit at 48 High Street, Dumbarton on the following dates  on Thursday 24th August between 3pm and 7pm and Thursday 28th September between 3pm and 7pm.

Any resident who cannot access the online consultation or attend the in-person events can submit written feedback to Magda Swider, Regeneration Team, 16 Church Street, Dumbarton, G82 1QL

The public consultation will run for seven weeks, starting on Thursday 24 August 2023 and closing on Monday 9 October 2023.

Following the consultation, an application for Planning Permission in Principle will be submitted and will include information on building forms, types of proposed future uses, access, transport and servicing routes, landscape and parking strategy.

If approved, the plans will provide a framework the Phase 1 construction works and the long term development of the site.

Warning to residents: Do not disagree with anything the Council have to say, and don’t for God’s sake ask for the sound to be turned up so that you can hear what’s being said. You could be thrown out or maybe even banned sine die.

  • That picture at the top of the page is misleading. The Artizan Centre looks nothing like that. It’s full of empty shops. This is what it looks like now:

Leave a Reply