A masterplan to redevelop Dumbarton’s largely vacant Artizan Shopping Centre is set to be published later this year.

The plan will be drawn up by a firm of consultants who will spend three months talking to people in the community to find out what people who live and work in the town want to see in the area in future.

Members of the tendering committee at West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) awarded a three-month consultancy contract for a design for the redeveloped centre to London firm Fourth Street Place Consultants this week.

The contract – worth almost £70,000 – will kick in on or around Monday, February 7.

The cost will be met from cash awarded to the council last year from the UK Government's Levelling Up Fund to redevelop the decaying Artizan Centre and carry out other improvements in the centre of the town, including better connections between the High Street and Dumbarton Central railway station.

Council officer Derek McLean told the committee on January 12: “Because of the Levelling Up Fund, there is already a significant number of projects being undertaken in this area.”

A paper circulated before the meeting revealed that there had been a 100 per cent response rate to the tender but said that Fourth Street Place Consultants Ltd had submitted the "most economically advantageous tender"

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “I am delighted with this report and that there was a 100 per cent response rate.

"Out of curiosity can we get an example on the kind of things that set this organisation apart from others?”

Councillor McColl was informed that the local authority would write to each of the bidders to inform them of their score in the bid and confirm what the winning factor for Fourth Street Place Consultants Ltd was. 

Labour councillor Lawrence O’Neill added: “I know a number of those organisations [who have been unsuccessful in the bidding process] having dealt with them previously in Glasgow.

“Could we envisage any particular challenges to this?”

Council officials confirmed that they had been impressed with the standard of the bid but said they stood by their choice of the winning bid.

Gillian McNamara, WDC's regeneration co-ordinator, said: “We were really impressed with some of the tenders. What set Fourth Street apart from the other bidders is that they have really extensive experience in re-purposing shopping centres of this type up and down the UK.

“They form really interesting partnerships with the development industry. That experience impacts on the rest of the town too.”

Following the discussion, councillors unanimously agreed to award the contract.