Plans for the new West Dunbartonshire Council offices in Dumbarton took another step forward yesterday after planning permission for the project was granted by councillors.

Work to transform the A-listed former Academy Building into modern, fit-for-purpose office space is now expected to start early next year.

The renovation of the historical façade of the building and the construction of a new office to the rear will allow the council to relocate 500 staff into the town centre.

In addition to the new office space, there will also be a public One Stop Shop area with multi-use civic space, training facilities and meeting rooms within the restored Academy Building.

Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, convener of planning, said: “These new offices will bring 500 employees into the heart of the town centre, which will play an important part in the continued drive to regenerate the area. In addition to the staff supporting the local economy by using the many shops and cafes on Dumbarton High Street, this development will also bring a derelict façade back to life.”

As the council aims to maintain the character of the historic Academy building, the original timber entrance doors will be restored and refitted, while the pitched roof will be rebuilt with high quality slates to match the appearance of the original roof.

A 195 space car park will be developed at the rear of the building, including 10 accessible car parking spaces and 10 spaces for electric vehicles. In addition to this, storage for 80 bikes will be provided and the council will also develop a Green Travel Plan to promote healthier and cheaper ways of commuting.

It is proposed that in the evenings and weekends the car parking would be made available for use by members of the public visiting the town centre.

Provost Douglas McAllister, depute-convener of planning, said: “The site has been cleared and is almost ready for redevelopment, so I am delighted that the project has now gained planning permission to allow it to continue to proceed. The current Garshake offices are in extremely poor condition and would require significant investment to allow them to meet the plans for modern working practices. Building these new offices in the centre of Dumbarton will provide a focal point for residents and help to further regenerate the town centre.”

The council recently secured a £500,000 grant from Historic Environment Scotland to help pay for the restoration of the building’s A-listed façade.

The new office will cost approximately £15.7 million and will contribute to saving the council £300,000 per year over the lifetime of the building.

SOURCE: Scottish Construction Now

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