THE team behind plans to bring Helensburgh's cinema and arts centre into community ownership say they're "absolutely delighted" at residents' responses to the idea.

The Save the Tower Community Buyout Steering Group welcomed hundreds of people to an engagement event at the Tower Digital Arts Centre at which they set out their proposals for the popular venue.

Filling out the main auditorium to its capacity of 300, visitors watched a short movie made about the facility’s history and potential, a presentation on the transition process, and saw what the future could look like for The Tower.

Paul Lyden, the steering group's chair, told the Advertiser: “Everybody was positive and enthusiastic – we were absolutely delighted with the event.

“We were expecting some people would come along and have concerns and worries, so we were absolutely prepared to answer any negativity. But there was absolutely none.

“After the meeting we were absolutely over the moon, and it’s encouraged us to continue.”

Read more: Save the Tower community buyout steering group plea

A consultant from the Community Ownership Support Service also gave a presentation at the event, and a representative from the Phoenix Cinema in Oban, which has been community owned for the last 10 years, spoke to the crowd before the floor was opened to questions.

Here, the public offered fund-raising ideas, while charities and community groups expressed their interest in the development and keenness to use the facility in the future.

Finally, Glasgow-based tribute band The James Experience: Born of Frustration treated visitors to a set lasting around 30 minutes.

Politicians present at the event included local MSP Jackie Baillie, Argyll and Bute Provost and Helensburgh resident Maurice Corry, and local Helensburgh councillors.

Ms Baillie said: “The event at The Tower was very well attended and shows the backing and support that the community is willing to give to local people trying to do something positive.

Read more: Support given to Tower Cinema's community buyout plan

“The Tower is a great event space and I am keen, as are residents, to see it utilised.

“I was pleased to support the efforts of the local community to retain it for the future."

The group will now apply to the Scottish Land Fund for the first phase of funding which will cover a full survey of the building and guarantee the venue is fit for purpose.

If all goes to plan, the group will then apply for phase two funding, which will allow them to buy the building and bring it into community ownership.