THE man behind the incredible new look Millport Town Hall has spoken to the News about his vision to breathe new life back into the historic building.

Architect Sam Brown, director of O'DonnellBrown, says the revamp is a step closer this week after the exciting plans for the redesign were submitted to council bosses..

The building has been lying vacant since 2012 but it is hoped work could start soon on the creation of the new community space after vital funding was secured and detailed blueprints were approved by the Friends of Millport Town Hall charity.

These artist's impressions reveal the level of detail behind the ambitious project which aims to renovate the building into a performance hall, heritage centre and community hub spanning several levels.

Sam says the aim was to make the building as environmentally friendly as possible, something which has been important through the whole process.

He said: "Millport is missing a civic centre – a place to gather, a place to come together. Speaking to locals, the building, even when operating primarily as a cinema, which was its use for much of its life, was still thought of as the community fulcrum. Since its closure, it has become apparent how much of an active absence the building has left behind.

"Our design approach looks to address this reality without bold intervention but through careful alteration. Retention of the building has always been at the heart of the project. The brief allowed us to look at refitting an existing building, to complement some of its original features and to rethink others. We wanted to demolish or remove as little of the building as possible and breathe new life into the structure whilst allowing the memories of its past to be evident and celebrated."

The building will be designed to minimise energy needed and carbon emissions, as well as using solar panels to help offset the town hall’s carbon footprint.

Angie McCallum, Chair of Trustees of Friends of Millport Town Hall, said: “O’DonnellBrown has produced a dynamic yet sympathetic solution, which provides flexible functionality and makes best use of ambient light.

“As a community charity we have been most impressed with the understanding shown for cost-led, yet innovative, design.”

A spokeperson for the firm said: “We are delighted to be working with Millport Town Hall to breathe life back into the existing building, conserving resources, its historic value and memories of its past, which are so cherished by the people of Millport and Isle of Cumbrae.”

Should planning permission be given, work is expected to commence early next year with an anticipated completion due of late 2021.