AMBITIOUS plans to transform Dumbarton town centre have been rubber-stamped by councillors.

West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) is now set to submit an application to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund which, if approved, would see the Artizan Centre shopping area bought by the local authority and partly demolished.

The council’s proposed bid for £19.9 million from the government fund, revealed in the Reporter last week, was approved by members of the authority’s infrastructure, regeneration and economic development committee on Thursday.

If the funding is secured, the cash will also provide a significant boost to WDC’s plans to transform the B-listed Glencairn House on the High Street into a library, museum and community facility.

The local authority hopes to start work on the projects later in the current financial year, with completion anticipated during 2023-24.

Councillor John Mooney said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for West Dunbartonshire.

"This will attract more people into the heart of the town centre, and the museum and heritage centre will also draw in people.

“It has always been how we better connect the town through pathways.

“It will encourage community facilities, reduce retail capacity and improve sustainability on local businesses on the high street.”

The bid also includes proposals to improve connections through the town centre between Dumbarton Central railway station, the High Street and the River Leven.

The Artizan Centre would also form part of the proposal as the council would look to buy the site at market value and use it to provide recreational space, parking and other community resources while helping existing businesses move into vacant premises on the nearby High Street.

This project would take up the largest share of the hoped-for government funding.

It’s expected that buying and developing the Artizan Centre site will cost around £10.4m.

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “I am confident this is going to be a success. This is a really exciting opportunity.

“If we are successful in purchasing the centre, that’s a sizeable part of the town centre where we can provide more services, recreational space and look at safeguarding local jobs in these uncertain times.”

The council’s detailed bid is expected to be formally submitted to the UK Government this week.