A major English bar-restaurant firm has set its sites on Cumbernauld, as part of a planned expansion drive into Scotland.
The firm, also a famous brewer, is still best known in Scotland by quality beer lovers for brands including flagship ale Marston’s Pedigree.
But it is a huge pubs business down south, with around 2,200 outlets of all kinds - and now Cumbernauld is on its official target locations list in Scotland.
Marstons is already building one of its outlets at Ravenscraig in Motherwell, and will be actively seeking a similar site in Cumbernauld.
Unlike economy pubs firm J D Wetherspoon, which usually moves into existing buildings, Marston typically creates completely new pubs from scratch.
Its bars are widely seen as a quality mid-market brand leading on above-average pub food, and their popularity down south is fuelling an expansion drive into Scotland (where existing ventures include The Pine Marten in Dunbar, pictured).
The company only has four pubs in Scotland at the moment - the nearest is at Brahead in Renfrewshire - but aims to have a dozen completed within a year, including the venture at Ravenscraig.
Its plan to open in Cumbernauld will centre on finding exactly the right site, which would probably be close to the town centre.
As with its Ravencraig outlet such a pub could emerge as a lynchpin development in Cumbernauld capable of attracting other new business or leisure facilities.
Marston’s says it’s seeking locations in target towns - including Cumbernauld - that front main roads and are on retail parks or close to residential developments with more than 500 homes.
It also has a hotel brand, Marston’s Inn, and is set to open the first of these in Scotland beside the Pine Marten in Dunbar.