Arts centre could still go ahead in Kirky

Kirkintilloch Canal festival 2011'The Kennedy Cupcakes at the Marina'28th August 2011'Pic: Roberto Cavieres

Kirkintilloch Canal festival 2011'The Kennedy Cupcakes at the Marina'28th August 2011'Pic: Roberto Cavieres

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A LONG-awaited arts and cultural centre could still happen, insist council chiefs – despite the site being earmarked for a new school.

Kirkintilloch’s Initiative (KI) secured £1.6million from the Scottish Arts Council in 2006 for the project, which promised to bring a 300-seat theatre, a recording studio, bar and restaurant to Southbank Marina by 2009.

But a cash shortage, caused by a downturn in the property market, meant that land earmarked to partly fund the project failed to sell.

As a result, the £1.6million Scottish Arts Council grant was withdrawn in March last year and the project has been in limbo ever since.

At the time a spokesperson for East Dunbartonshire Council, which has now effectively taken over KI, said: “We are confident we can revisit the arts and cultural centre development in a more positive economic climate.”

Now further doubt has been cast on the project - after council officers revealed that a new £5million Lairdsland Primary School could be built on the site.

The initial plans were given the green light by councillors last month.

But Thomas Glen, the council’s head of development and enterprise, said: “As part of the current Kirkintilloch town centre masterplan consultation, the council continues to seek views from local people and local businesses on the future regeneration of the town centre.

“The consultation will assist in informing the potential development of key sites within the town centre with any such development, including the proposed arts and culture centre, subject to the prevailing economic conditions and ability to secure the necessary funding.”