HALF a million pounds has been set aside to help the Glasgow School of Art set up a studio in Clydebank.

Members of the cultural committee at West Dunbartonshire Council (WDC) have agreed to earmark £500,000 from the authority's cultural capital fund which could see a council facility at Richmond Street leased to the art school.

The proposals, which have been in the pipeline for around four years, would see the creation of studios and workspaces, provided an agreement can be reached between the local authority and the university. 

An update was presented to councillors last Friday where some concerns were raised about the cost of living crisis and reserving such a large sum of money for this project. 

Baillie Dennis Agnew, chair of the commitee, said: “It is quite significant for West Dunbartonshire to be connected to such a prestigious organisation. 

“Councillor Jonathan McColl and myself met with the director of Glasgow School of Art just over two years ago when we had gone through some earlier discussions [with them].

“This proposal will have a huge impact on our citizens and the wellbeing of everyone in our society if this goes ahead.”

Labour councillor John Millar questioned how the project would benefit residents who are struggling to make ends meet. 

He said: “We are in the middle of a cost of living crisis. We are dishing out costs for a project which does not appear to be very well aligned with our strategic priorities. I am not sure how we are going to measure this success.”

Baillie Agnew insisted the council was not “chucking” money at anything. 

He said: “This is a proposal which will have a spend of up to £500,000. A huge section of society will benefit if this comes off.

“This is not about pounds, shillings and pence. It is about investing in people with an organisation which shows how the arts can impact society.

"It’s not just about pictures on a wall but engaging with people and understanding where we are.”

Council officials will now draw up a business case to bring before the committee which will outline how the project would work. 

Members will then decide if they want to proceed or not.