Alexandria Town Centre Masterplan was approved by West Dunbartonshire Council on 15 September 2021. You can download a copy of the approved Masterplan here.

You can read the Council’s Committee Report about the masterplan here (go to Item 10 on the agenda), and a summary of responses to the public consultation on the draft masterplan in Spring 2021 here.

This website was created as part of the process of developing the masterplan during 2020 and 2021, to enable local residents and businesses to find out more and have their say. It explains why and how the masterplan was prepared.

The focus has now moved from preparing the masterplan to delivering it. This website remains online as a record of the consultation process but may be updated in the future to reflect progress in delivering the masterplan. If you would like more information about delivery of the masterplan, please contact the Council’s Regeneration Team by email - regeneration@west-dunbarton.gov.uk - or phone - 01389 737777.

Alexandria town centre needs to improve to fulfil its role as the heart of the Vale.

cartoon heart cartoon heart

To make this a reality, the Council is preparing a masterplan for the town centre. This will be used to guide activities over the next 15 years and secure resources to make things happen. The purpose of the consultation in May-June 2021 was to ask if we’re on the right track.

The masterplan will comprise a number of projects in the town centre. You can see what was proposed in the May-June 2021 consultation in the plan below. Click on each suggested project to see more information about it and a summary of the consultation responses.

No single project will turn the town centre around, but taken together we believe that they will help make the town centre more active, more attractive and more accessible.

Responses Overview

In the May-June 2021 consultation responses, people were asked to rate the importance of each of the 12 projects on a scale of 1 (thumbs down) to 5 (thumbs up). The two graphs below show the results. Please tap on the graphs or hover over them with your mouse for details.

It is worth noting that all projects scored above average in terms of popular importance – between 3.5 and 4.6 out of 5.

Q1 Average score for each proposal

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Number of people scoring (Q1) and commenting (Q2) on each proposal

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Main Street

Wider and better pavements, easier to cross the road, stopping illegal parking, better lighting, canopy repairs, more greenery, seating and car park signage and links... these are the ideas proposed along Main Street between the Smollett Fountain and the CE Centre. 

The aim is to make Main Street more attractive for people to spend time in, supporting businesses and community life. 

There will be more consultation as detailed proposals are worked up. 

Before / After

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Before/ After

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Before/ After

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Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Main Street project:

  • Mixed views for and against.
  • Concerns that narrowing Main Street will result in traffic blockages from illegal parking, deliveries and buses, and cause increased traffic on Middleton Street.
  • Concern expressed about creating another situation like the centre of Balloch.
  • Parking enforcement will be essential to avoid the road being blocked.
  • The road needs to be wide enough for buses to pass.
  • Maintenance will be important.
  • Pedestrian crossings and disabled access essential.
  • More greenery and the better pavements are not enough on their own - need to attract wider range of businesses in order to attract more people.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Smollett Fountain

The Council has already committed funding for restoration of the Smollett Fountain, including improving the setting and road junction to improve pedestrian safety and traffic management.  Design work is well advanced and work should start this year.  

Temporary changes are currently being trialled on site, including changes to the traffic lights. Any comments you have on those temporary changes will help to inform permanent improvements.

Smollet Fountain

To celebrate the importance of this listed structure, which sits on the junction of Bank Street and Main Street and represents the ‘heart’ of Alexandria, the Council has committed funding for the restoration of the fountain and general upgrading of its surroundings. The aims are also to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety whilst also allowing traffic to move through the junction in a courteous and slower manner by altering traffic management priorities.

Work will be undertaken in three phases. The first phase has already started on site in Spring 2021. This phase of work is a temporary trial funded by Sustrans. The changes to pedestrian crossings and the management of traffic will be monitored and observations used to refine the second phase of work due to start in Summer 2021: permanent changes to the road and pavement layout.

The third and final phase will be refurbishment works to the fountain itself, which was last restored in 1996. The proposals include a creative lighting using a ‘Fountain of Light’ concept. We know that people are also keen to see reinstatement of the disconnected water supply to the gravity fed fountain. Unfortunately we will not know whether this is possible until investigative work is completed as part of the current trial works.

  • Fountain of Light with annotaions
  • Fountain of Light in amber colour
  • Fountain of Light in blue colour
  • Fountain of Light in maroon colour
  • Fountain of Light in red colour
smollet fountain plans

Before/ After

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Before/ After

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Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Smollett Fountain project:

  • Concerns about traffic flow, road width and long vehicles turning.
  • Many comments referred to the impact of the current temporary works, such as inconsistent lane widths and queues.
  • Comments on details included locations of planters and details of road layout.
  • Good to restore heritage and get the Fountain working again.
  • Some people support improvement of the Fountain but are concerned about the road changes.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Property Improvements

Many town centre properties are in poor condition. We want to explore what can be done to improve them and make them more attractive for new uses. 

This will require working with building owners and finding funding for things like building repairs, painting,  shopfront improvements, re-use of upper floors and so on.

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Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Property Improvements project:

  • Many buildings are very rundown and need attention.
  • Good to support business, high rents are an issue too.
  • A more uniform look and restoring heritage would be good.
  • Need to work with owners and businesses.
  • Should public money be spent on this?

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Mitchell Way

Demolition of the vacant buildings on the south side of Mitchell Way, improved public spaces and construction of a new supermarket (Lidl are currently interested).  The plan below show how Mitchell Way could be redeveloped with a new supermarket, public space and commercial/residential development.

mitchell way plan

Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Mitchell Way project:

  • Major eyesore and an urgent priority.
  • Mixed views on the need for another supermarket.
  • Need to see more detail of how the public space would look, how the redevelopment would attract more businesses, and how the supermarket would support the existing town centre.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

New Homes

This would be a big transformational project covering a large area between Mitchell Way, Bank Street and Bridge Street, on either side of the railway station. 

It would include:
  • 100-200 new good-quality affordable homes.  
  • Supporting facilities like green space, play areas and so on.
  • Removal of the big roundabout around the railway station and reinstate old direct routes of Bank Street and Chapel Street.
  • Improvements to the railway station.

The aim is to achieve:
  • More people living in the town centre - and therefore more footfall for businesses.
  • More good quality homes for local residents.
  • Make it easier to walk and cycle between Bonhill Bridge and the town centre, by removing the roundabout around the station.

The work would be carried out in stages and would take 5-10 years.  The first step would be to undertake a feasibility study to work out potential types of homes, site plans, supporting facilities and infrastructure, costs, sources of funding and phasing.  

Good design quality for new homes, streets and green spaces would be a priority.

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Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for New Homes project:

  • Widespread support for new homes, although some negative views also.
  • Affordable homes are needed especially to keep young people in the area.
  • Proposals need to include parking, roads, schools, shops, green spaces and play areas, including’20 minute neighbourhood’ concept. Homes should be houses rather than flats, eco-friendly, high quality and good design.
  • Mixed views on removing the roundabout around the station: some suggest it will improve access from Bonhill to the town centre, others are concerned about impact on traffic flow.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Alexandria Library

We want to encourage more life and activity in the town centre, by investing in community buildings and spaces so that there is more indoor and outdoor space for events and activities in the town centre.  The increased footfall would also help town centre businesses.

For Alexandria Library, funding has already been secured to install a lift and refurbish the upstairs space for community use (for example, a youth theatre) and new space for exhibitions about the Vale's heritage - including Turkey Red, Argyll Motor Works and Renton FC winning the world championship. 

Future work could include opening up the Library garden as a community space, heritage trails, projects with local schools, and events space and better lighting in front of the Library.

Before/ After

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library plan

Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Alexandria Library project:

  • General support for improving and making more of it, good for the community.
  • Lots of ideas for how to use the new community spaces inside the building.
  • Limited support for proposed changes to the road outside.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Viresco Studios

Viresco Studios is transforming the former St Andrews Church on Main Street, opposite the CE Centre, into new arts and creative activities and studios.  The Studios will provide cultural and art opportunities to people who would not normally access them, increasing pride in Alexandria and its connections to a larger audience through Scotland and beyond as it attracts and welcomes visitors.

The project recently received major Scottish Government funding and is now in progress.

Find out more on the Viresco Studios website.

former St Andrew Church courtesy Google Streetview

Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Viresco Studios project:

  • Good to have something creative like this, especially for young people.
  • Needs to be accessible and open to the whole community.
  • Need to conserve the historic fabric of the church, graves and so on.
  • Need to coordinate with other initiatives like the CE Centre, library, and Lomond Galleries.
  • Questions over use of public funding for a project on property currently in private ownership.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

CE Centre

We want to encourage more outdoor events and activities in the town centre in existing event spaces like Christie Park and the CE Centre car park.  This would increase community activity, bring more people into the town centre, and help town centre businesses.

The car park between the CE Centre and Overton Street could be improved to make it easier to organise more events, as shown in the visualisation below.


Before/ After

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Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for CE Centre project:

  • Support for more markets, local music events etc.
  • Concern about reduction in parking, especially because it is a busy car park with disabled spaces.
  • CE Centre needs a makeover to.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Green Heritage Corridors

More trees, greenery and flowers in the town centre including along Main Street, to Christie Park, and down to the Barry the Cat mural on the river. 

As well as brightening up the streets, improving walking and cycling and bringing in more nature, these ‘Green Heritage Corridors’ would create lots of opportunities for local residents, schools and community groups to be involved in artwork, better play facilities, growing food, tree planting and nature trails.

Some of this greening could be temporary until gap sites are developed. The visualisation below shows one possible example of how these temporary greening could look on a currently vacant site on Bank Street, subject to funding and necessary agreements.

green corridors plan

Before/ After

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Before/ After

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Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Green Heritage Corridors project:

  • Mixed views, but widespread support for improvements like this.
  • Some concerns about future maintenance.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Cycling and Walking Network

A network of safe walking and cycle routes making it easier to get to the town centre from different parts of the Vale, so folk can safely walk and cycle to school, to the town centre or to meet friends.  

The network can become a focus to encourage people to get outdoors and be active, including organising community events like walking groups and cycling festivals.

The network should link with the National Cycle Network along the river, and encourage visitors walking and cycling between Dumbarton and Loch Lomond to come into the town centre and see what it has to offer.

plan

Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Cycling and Walking Network project:

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Christie Park

Christie Park is a wonderful asset for the town in so many ways: a beautiful historic green space in the heart of the town, and a place for everything from big community events to simply enjoying some peace and quiet.  

Ideas for improvements to the Park include:

  • Path link to the hospital.
  • Reopening the toilets.
  • Renovation of the War Memorial.
  • More community activities like family fun, heritage and nature walks, and arts events. 
  • Anchor for the Green Heritage Corridors.

img 1
by Eddie Mackinnon is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
img 2
by Son of Groucho is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Christie Park project:

  • Much support, the park is seen as a great asset.
  • Popular improvement ideas include toilets, café, kiosk, bandstand, potting green, improved toddlers area, better maintenance, path link to hospital, community activities, less antisocial behaviour.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Lomond Galleries

The former Argyll Motor Works is a wonderful building with some great businesses inside.  But how can we make more of its untapped potential?  

Since the building and forecourt are privately owned, all we can do at this stage is to put forward ideas.  For example:

  • More events in the forecourt? For example, historic car shows harking back to its heyday as the Argyll Motor Works, outdoor heritage exhibitions for locals and tourists, or showcasing local businesses with events or popups.
  • New landscaping, recreational space, lightshows and art installations in front of the building and in the empty facade towards Heather Avenue? 
  • A new modern extension at the Heather Avenue end of the building for more business space, arts studios or apartments?

The plan and visualisations below offer some ideas of how the Galleries could be enhanced in the future.  Please note that these ideas do not necessarily represent the views of the owner.

plan

Before/ After

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Consultation comments

As well as scoring each project for its importance, people were given the opportunity to provide other comments to help take each project forward. Below is the summary of the main points for Lomond Galleries project:

  • A beautiful historic asset for the Vale but underused.
  • Great scope to attract visitors and locals for events, arts and so on.
  • Bring back the former car boot sale!
  • Conversion to flats suggested by some people.
  • Some suggest that the Council should step in, others say not.

Please refer to Consultation Report to read individual comments in full.

Below you can see some of the comments people have left on each project. You can read them all in Consulatation Report.

Comment on Alexandria Library project:

I am all for increased use of libraries but this is not thought out there is currently a plan to develop the church in Alexandria for this type of. Use what is the poj tof lieusre centre just not thought through

Comment on Lomond Galleries project:

Attracting better shops into the galleries would be a better idea

Comment on Smollett Fountain project:

The proposed works at the fountain are positive, although more needs to be done to minimise disruption for all.

Comment on Christie Park project:

Path link to the hospital serves no purpose from Christie Park, that's what the pavement is for.

Comment on Smollett Fountain project:

I think work should commence on tidying up fountain,clearing gutters and most definitely have traffic management in place as gets very congested,plus now houses on bank street have to think about air quality for residents ..

Comment on Main Street project:

Stopping parking in this area is important. There are plenty of car parking space surrounding the main st which is poorly utilised.

Comment on Main Street project:

All you are doing is moving heavy traffic to back streets. Try fixing the roads in the area

Comment on Green Heritage Corridors project:

Anything would be an improvement, however community involved with this would be helpful as propert,housing at the moments tenants don't seem to take pride in this once lovely wee area

Comment on Mitchell Way project:

Don't think you will get a better offer from anyone else .So the plans from lidl should be given the the go ahead. Brings more jobs to the area .

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

Good idea to keep alovely building in existence

Comment on Alexandria Library project:

This is a very good project and would greatly enhance the area

Comment on Cycling and Walking Network project:

Looks good

Comment on CE Centre project:

Utter madness to reduce parking space here. It if often nearly full.

Comment on New Homes project:

This would be so beneficial for the community, particularly the proposal of more safe play facilities.

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

It is a great space and important to have community projects especially for young people

Comment on Main Street project:

Fantastic! Such a depressing place at the moment, these plans would certainly give an aesthetic improvement, however investment to maintain must be considered and secured by WDC to ensure this effort is not wasted, and maintained for years to come.

Comment on Mitchell Way project:

Absolutely embossing how bad Mitchell way is. WDC have paid so many front line workers off that you can't even maintain the new bit outside the Coop. Never been swept absolute disgrace.

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

Not really for this area is it

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

I’m not an artsy crafty person but any use of this beautiful old church building is welcome

Comment on Mitchell Way project:

Providing affordable options for shopping within close proximity to local communities is essential.

Comment on Green Heritage Corridors project:

Not sure can be achieved and at what cost , money could be better spent

Comment on New Homes project:

Affordable housing essential

Comment on Smollett Fountain project:

The fountain area would certainly benefit from a revamp, but narrowing the road on a corner where large buses and vehicles need to pass through is nothing short of stupid and dangerous.

Comment on CE Centre project:

Great idea for marketa etc. Rhe vale has ample parking just not at grwat access points

Comment on Property Improvements project:

Great idea, hopefully help the town centre look more attractive and much less depressing.

Comment on Lomond Galleries project:

Lowering the rates would attract more business

Comment on Main Street project:

I see no increase in off road parking so from this you intend to turn Main Street into a pedestrian only area

Comment on Smollett Fountain project:

Definitely do not think traffic lights or road markings are safe as the turning point from bank st to main st is too tight

Comment on Main Street project:

Any progress on tempting more branded retailers to the main st? Can wider pavements encourage outdoor seating in food outlets? Eg cafes

Comment on Main Street project:

Agree with narrowing the road, especially since its double yellow lines anyway, but please leave wide enough for an LGV or HGV to pass a bus. Narrower yes, but not as narrow as a housing scheme road.

Comment on New Homes project:

Nice idea, but improvements in other existing areas should take priority over new buildings.

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

The church has been in a delapidated state for too long and now the grass is not even being cut so again any improvements will be good.

Comment on Lomond Galleries project:

Monthly Outdoor markets for local businesses, building and parking needs updated

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

This building will lie empty not long after reopening if this is what is planned for it. Art lessons? Really?

Comment on Alexandria Library project:

more nonsense

Comment on Smollett Fountain project:

Open up Bank street all the way down to Bonhill Bridge and rearrange the current system of going all around the vale the only people who benefit from this are taxis due to increased fare costs.

Comment on New Homes project:

When you say homes?, you mean flats, no doubt, plenty of one bedroom flats to push people into isolation with no front of back garden therefore no social life and life to sit in a garden in the sunshine, but never mind you wont be living in them.

Comment on Christie Park project:

Beautiful park years ago but WDC scaled back staff to the bare minimum great guys in there do the best they can on limited time

Comment on New Homes project:

You need to make sure there are enough shopping facilities & the roads are suitable before thinking about more homes .. total greed

Comment on Christie Park project:

Good idea but again the toilets were closed due to the lack of upkeep and undesirables hanging about

Comment on Alexandria Library project:

Why?

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

A tourist attraction like Viresco Studios that can link with the development of the motor works (Lomond Galleries) is the key to socially activating the rest of Alexandria.

Comment on Main Street project:

I live in Middleton Street, just behind Main Street, whilst the renovations of Main St look very good the traffic would then increase in Middleton St which is already a very busy Street which I do not want.

Comment on Lomond Galleries project:

Yes!!!

Comment on Cycling and Walking Network project:

Encouraging exercise and improving locals health will always be encouraging

Comment on Christie Park project:

This is wonderful asset. This space could hold concerts and other events. It need to be a space which brings folks in to enjoy the full potential of this little treasure.

Comment on Mitchell Way project:

It's either this or we start renting it out as a movie set for zombie/post apocalypse flicks

Comment on Cycling and Walking Network project:

Very important

Comment on Viresco Studios project:

Pointless

Comment on Property Improvements project:

Keep WDC out of any improvement to properties.The existing properties supposedly looked after by them are a disgrace