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Published 21 August 2019

An ambitious proposal to transform one of Dumbarton’s oldest buildings into a state-of-the-art library and museum has received public backing.

A series of consultations were undertaken earlier this summer to gather local opinion on the plans, which would see Glencairn House brought back into use, and the current library building at Strathleven Place converted into a publicly accessible collections store and archive. Overall the project will represent a £5 million investment.

A total of 238 residents responded to an online survey, with 78 per cent supporting the proposal for the historic High Street building.

The proposed development would include the creation of an events space on the fourth floor of the building – something 84% of respondents backed.

Those filling in the survey were also asked about the change of use of the existing library into a venue where historically important object and artefacts could be viewed, with 74 per cent agreeing that this would be a good use for the building.

Feedback from public drop in sessions – including one held in Glencairn House itself – was also positive.

More than 100 residents attended, with the majority supporting the proposal to bring it back into use as a cultural venue celebrating the rich history of the local area. Attendees also supported the opportunity for the community to make use of events space in the building. The results of the consultation will be presented to members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development Committee later this month, when they will be given the chance to discuss the proposal and decide on the next steps.

Concerns were raised by some residents during the consultation about parking, floor space in Glencairn House, and access to records in the new collections store and archive. All of these have been addressed in the Committee report.

Malcolm Bennie, Strategic Lead for Communications, Culture and Communities, said: “Firstly, I’d like to thank everyone who took part in the consultation on this project either online or in person. It was great to get this level of engagement, and I think that demonstrates the interest people have in Glencairn House and the existing Dumbarton Library.

“Secondly, it is really positive to see that the proposal attracted such significant levels of support amongst local people. Many of those who took part were excited about seeing Glencairn House brought back into use, and the opportunity that a new library and museum presented.

 “As the report outlines this work will cost an additional £15,000 per year to the Council and in return Dumbarton would benefit from a landmark library and museum on the High Street, and a new collections store and archive which the public could visit and rare local items for the first time. It is now down to the Committee to consider the decision in detail and decide if the project represents good value for money.  ”

The full report can be read on the Council’s website.