A DECADE of funding for Clydebank that is set to begin later this year has been described as "exciting".

It was previously announced that the UK Government’s Long-Term Plan for Towns initiative will see the area net £2million a year for community investment.

A town board comprising of 15 people from across Clydebank, and chaired by the principal of West College Scotland Liz Connolly, will be responsible for deciding how the funding is distributed.

Her appointment was confirmed last month by West Dunbartonshire Council at a meeting of the local authority’s Infrastructure, Regeneration, and Economic Development (IRED).

And Adam Hawksbee, who was made the interim chair for the new high-powered Towns Unit by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in January, insists the funding will make a real difference to the area.

Speaking to The Post, he said: "The key thing is that the £20million that is coming to Clydebank is for the community to invest.

"The government have been really clear that what each area decides to do with that funding is entirely up to them.

"Liz Connolly is going to be chair of the Clydebank Town Board which I think is a great choice. It has been really good meeting her and learning about her hopes.

"They are going to be developing a 10-year vision for Clydebank between April and August which will involve laying out what they want the area to look like after that £20million has been spent as well as a plan for the first three years of funding, which covers the first six million that is being sent through."

Mr Hawksbee received a tour of the area where he visited places such as Clyde Shopping Centre and Queen's Quay and also met with community groups and council members.

And while he acknowledged there are challenges that need to be addressed, he feels the funding provides the community with an excellent opportunity.

"I think there is a real sense of optimism in terms of the forward direction of Clydebank," he continued.

"The Queen’s Quay development, the way it ties in with the shipbuilding heritage of the area along with the net zero future in terms of the distribution network, is a really exciting example of pulling together industrial heritage and the future.

"There are also clearly some real challenges, looking round the shopping centre and seeing all the vacancy signs, speaking to the community groups about the food poverty rates in the town, it is important to remember that you can have exciting projects like Queen’s Quay but if they are out of reach for a lot of members of the community then you are not going to see long-term regeneration.

"My impression was real promise in terms of forward momentum but that there are deeply entrenched problems that need to be addressed, and this was shared by members of the council that I spoke to.

"The hope is this funding will help some of the issues, but it will not be able to fix all the problems in the area.

"£20million is a big chunk of funding and while it is not going to do everything, it can be the down payment on additional community capacity."