The new tenants on the site of the former Ladyton Library have revealed their plans to use the site to create a new dance school business.
It was revealed last month that West Dunbartonshire Council had approved a change of use for the premises under the terms of a recently passed law that enables community groups in West Dunbartonshire to set up in council-owned buildings in order to make use of vacant or derelict properties.
She explains that the move to the Ladyton premises is a necessary step for her business.
Talking to the Reporter, she said: "It's a great opportunity. I've got my own place in Balloch right now and it's been great for me, but I really needed a bigger place and space for the school to progress to attract more new pupils.
"One of the problems with the current place is that there are some mothers who can't drive to it and so I really wanted a place that was within walking distance for them to encourage more people to come along."
The school is set to offer classes in various dance techniques from children from two upwards, and hopes into extend into adult exercise classes, including lessons in kickboxing and muay thai.
Liza also explained the process of transforming the former library and the impact she believes it may have on Bonhill.
She said: "We've obviously had to re-decorate the whole place, put in a wall of mirrors and a dance floor. It was just a big empty space when we started and it's been a tough time getting it all done, but it's been an exciting time."
"I just saw the building was lying empty and up for rent and there's nothing for kids to do in Bonhill and the community, so I think it will be great for the community."
The process of acquiring the former library was part of a West Dunbartonshire Council report titled 'Community Asset Transfer', which aims to put into practice the plans of the Scottish Government's 2015 Community Empowerment Act, which aims to transfer power to communities and supporting them to create change.
The report outlined the wider benefits of allowing community ownership of council-held properties, saying: “Community bodies’ controlling their own land or buildings helps strengthen communities.
“They can develop local services and activities and make their area a better place. West Dunbartonshire Council would like to actively enable communities to achieve this.
“The transfer of responsibility for an asset from a local authority to a community body can be conferred through either a short or long term lease, transfer of outright ownership or such other bestowed rights (such as the right to occupy or manage land/buildings)."
Damon Scott, Chief Executive, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We welcome this exciting new business which is particularly positive as it brings a disused premises back into operation. Dance Schools have proved particularly popular and I am sure this venture will be a success.
"It is a welcome addition to the local economy as well as encouraging health and well-being in our communities."
"Heightened business activity in the area also helps to inspire self-employment as a realistic career path and the chamber and our partners are here to help support anyone with an idea or existing business they would like to develop – from advice and mentoring to funding and training.”
The news of the new development has been received positively by the local community.
Janice Ross, chair of Bonhill and Dalmonach Community Council, said: "In regards to the proposed Dance School, the Community Council would see this as a benefit to the community and we wish the owner every success."