THE future of the former Play Drome site may now include new housing, councillors have heard.

The former leisure centre has lain empty since March 2017, when it was replaced by the new waterfront leisure centre, following the sale of the land in December 2016 to Henry Boot Developments Limited for £3,918,300.

West Dunbartonshire Council’s infrastructure, regeneration and economic development (IRED) committee heard last week that the original plans for retail units were being reconsidered.

The building itself makes up only 17 per cent of the total site area.

Jim McAloon, the council’s head of regeneration and economic development, admitted to the committee that progress was going “slower than expected”.

But he said: “We will be giving details within the next couple weeks. Ideas for the site have developed to include housing.”

When the land was sold, Henry Boot put forward plans for seven retail units, car parking, a new public square and a pocket park on the southern side of the canal.

Councillor David McBride at the time said it was “the final piece of the jigsaw in Clydebank”.

But there was debate in the run-up to the approval of the sale about the exact mix of what was going on the site and whether there needed to be housing or restaurants too.

Provost William Hendrie, who moved to reject the sale in 2016, told last week’s committee: “I would be delighted to hear housing will be built. I think that’s a good idea and will help build up new people using the shopping centre.”

Councillor David McBride said there had been a “real desire for housing” on the site, particularly from Councillor John Mooney and former deputy council leader Patrick McGlinchey.

Mr McAloon said his patience had been tested with the amount of time the project was taking and would consider remarketing it if needed.

He said: “If nothing came forward, I would come back and seek approval to put it back on the market.”

Mr McAloon added that because the council will be pushing Queens Quay developments in the coming years, now was a good time to market surplus and derelict sites owned by the council.

Nick Harris, director, Henry Boot Developments Ltd, told the Post: “We are working with West Dunbartonshire Council to explore the various potential options for this site, including retail and housing.”