Local MSP Jackie Baillie has supported the establishment of a taskforce to drive forward the regeneration of Dumbarton Town Centre.
Local traders, councillors and community representatives previously met together in the now-defunct Dumbarton Town Centre Forum and Jackie believes it is time to start a new taskforce to maximise the potential benefits of upcoming regeneration projects and investment.
West Dunbartonshire Council has unveiled plans designed to increase footfall in the High Street by transferring an additional 500 employees to the town centre. The plans would retain the historic grade-A listed façade of the former Dumbarton Academy building and build new offices at the rear.
Together with the new through road linking St James’ Retail Park and the High Street, it is hoped that the Labour-run Council’s investment in the area will also help attract interest from developers in the old Allied Distillers site on the waterfront. The derelict wasteground is currently the responsibility of PricewaterHouseCoopers after its owners went into administration and most local residents consider the old distillery tower a dangerous eyesore.
“While town centres the length and breadth of Scotland have suffered from decline over the past decade, many local people believe that the opening of the St James’ Retail Park hasn’t helped matters. We all know that mistakes have been made in the past but I want to focus on the future. I will work with West Dunbartonshire Council, retailers and all interested local groups and individuals to come up with a plan to reinvigorate Dumbarton town centre. With the right strategy and some creative thinking, I believe we can transform the High Street into a place where visitors want to come and where local people can do most of their shopping.
“There have already been some encouraging signs that the future is beginning to look brighter for Dumbarton thanks to the Labour-run Council’s plans to transform one of our historic buildings and increase footfall by moving 500 staff into the centre of the town. We have a long way to go but with businesses like Costa Coffee locating in one of the High Street’s prime spots, there is real potential for improvement.
“Given the opportunities for Dumbarton in the coming years, we need a taskforce to drive forward a positive agenda for regeneration of the High Street. It is vital that we get together as a community and seize this opportunity to make our town centre a more attractive place to live, work and shop