West Dunbartonshire Council has secured a £500,000 grant to help pay for the restoration of the former Dumbarton Academy building as part of £15.7m plans to transform it into the new council headquarters.

The funds have been awarded by Historic Environment Scotland and will be used to repair the A-listed façade of the building.

Built in 1865, the building on Church Street has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years since a fire ravaged the building in 1976.

The renovation works will be carried out by specialist contractors and will include the roof being rebuilt, conservation, and repair of the original stonework, and refurbishment of the existing main entrance timber doors.

The council plans to move 500 staff currently based at Garshake to the new offices which are due to open in 2017.

Council leader Martin Rooney said: “This is an iconic building at the heart of Dumbarton town centre and I’m delighted that Historic Environment Scotland has recognised the importance of the work we’re carrying out.

“In restoring the old academy building to its former glory, not only will the council bring this building back into use but it will also help provide a catalyst for further regeneration activities in the town centre.” Once completed, the building will include a public area with multi-use civic space, training and meeting rooms within the original building, with a substantial new building to the rear containing office space.

The new office will cost approximately £15.7 million and is estimated to save the council £300,000 per year over the lifetime of the building compared to maintaining the current office estate.

The funding boost was welcomed by local MSP Jackie Ballie.

She said: “This announcement means that the restoration of the Burgh Hall is one of the first projects in Scotland to receive the backing of the new national heritage body. The Labour administration in West Dunbartonshire is embarking on the most significant investment in Dumbarton town centre for years, and with the support from Historic Environment Scotland, one of our finest architectural gems will be restored to its former glory.

“Moving the offices from Garshake to the centre of the town will also be a key driver for the regeneration of the High Street. The transfer of over 500 council staff will increase footfall in the area and give local people a reason to come into the town centre to access council services.

"Hopefully this will help reverse the trend in recent years that have seen High Street retailers struggle due to the decline in passing trade and growth of supermarkets and out-of-town shopping.”