End in sight for eyesore building

EYESORE: The former Co-op building, Townhead
EYESORE: The former Co-op building, Townhead

A burnt-out derelict building in Kirkintilloch town centre will be demolished and replaced with 15 new homes.

East Dunbartonshire Council has bought the former Co-op premises at 85-97 Townhead, after successfully securing £200,000 from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Funding.

The property has been in a poor state of repair since it was damaged by fire in February 2007. However, as the building was privately owned until very recently, the council was unable to take action - other than liaising with the owner to ensure it was not a safety hazard.

Hard work by officers over the years finally paid off recently when an agreement was reached with the owner to conclude the sale.

Earlier this month members of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee agreed that the building be demolished and the site given to Trust Housing Association - which will create 15 new affordable one and two-bedroom flats.

The development will increase the population of those living within the town centre, a central aim of the Kirkintilloch Town Centre Masterplan.

Council Leader Rhondda Geekie said, “This is terrific news for Townhead and the wider town centre. It has been a long-held aspiration of this Council - as well as residents, businesses and visitors - to take action to address the state of the former Co-op building.

“However, until recently, the Council’s hands were tied as we did not own the site. I am delighted to say that this building - which has been a blight in the town centre for so long - will be demolished and replaced with much-needed housing.

“This will increase the town’s affordable housing capacity, add to the sustainability and vibrancy of the town centre, and boost the market for existing and future retail and leisure outlets.”

The acquisition was concluded on 26 June 2014 and the council has already submitted a planning application and building warrant to demolish the property.

It is expected that development works will start in summer/autumn 2015.

Councillor Geekie added: “The building will be demolished as soon as possible as it is in such a poor state of repair and has been an eyesore in the local community for far too long.

“The condition of the building was flagged up on a number of occasions as part of the consultation exercises during the preparation of the Kirkinitilloch Town Centre Masterplan.

“I want to pay tribute to officers who have diligently worked behind the scenes to ensure the council was able to acquire the building and take action. It has been a long and sometimes frustrating process, but I am delighted we are now in a position to announce such good news.

“Not only is this area going to be transformed into a more attractive place, it will bring more people living into the town centre and will go some way to addressing some of the area’s affordable housing shortfall.”

The proposals will be subject to ministerial consent and planning permission for affordable housing.