North Ayrshire Council has indicated it will use legal powers, where necessary, to bring back into use vacant sites around local towns.
Saltcoats and Stevenston have a number of ‘gap sites’ where buildings
have been demolished but owners have then failed to proceed with
development projects, leaving the areas as derelict eyesores. the3towns
understands that a number of such sites are in the ownership of one
Irvine-based construction firm.
North Ayrshire as a whole has
amongst the highest levels of vacant and derelict land in Scotland,
including the sites of former major employers such as ICI at Ardeer and
Shell in Ardrossan. Now, the local Council’s SNP administration has
agreed a new approach to address the issue.
Meeting last week,
the Council’s SNP Cabinet set-out plans to focus investment in vacant
and derelict sites, support development by the private sector and
consider the best use of legal powers to allow enforcement action where
discussions with landowners have stalled and other avenues have been
In addition, the Cabinet agreed to seek support from
the Scottish Government’s Vacant and Derelict Land Fund to have North
Ayrshire included in the area for which financial support is available.
Marie Burns, SNP Cabinet Member for Economy and Employment, said, “Many
of the challenges we face are a result of the decline in traditional
industries. The loss of companies such as ICI and Shell led to a legacy
of vacant land. These empty sites are not simply an unpleasant
reminder of lost jobs, they continue to exercise a negative effect to
this day – affecting residents, businesses and potential investors and
encouraging fly-tipping, overgrown vegetation and vandalism.”
Burns explained, “In the first instance we will make investment in
vacant and derelict land a real priority, while supporting the private
sector where we can.” However, the SNP councillor made clear that where
every route to bring a site back into use had been tried but had
failed, the Council will now “consider the legal powers available to