Burnt-out shell has been left to crumble in town centre

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AN EYESORE building must be tackled in Kirkintilloch, say angry residents and business leaders.

The derelict building in Townhead has lain empty since it was gutted by fire almost five years ago.

Last week the Herald revealed that a taxi driver had nearly been killed when strong winds caused a cast iron pipe from the building to crash through his windscreen.

Many residents and shop owners are now demanding East Dunbartonshire Council steps in and forces the owners of the building to take action to address the ‘eyesore’ building.

One local resident said: “The building has been left to crumble. It came as no surprise when the taxi was hit - it’s amazing that something like this hasn’t happened before.

“I can’t believe that there isn’t something the council could do to force the owner to carry out repairs and at least make the building safe.”

Robert Wilson, president of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, is also concerned about Kirkintilloch’s image suffering as a result of the eyesore.

He said: “It is a blight on the town and anybody visiting for the first time must be shocked to see it.

“The building pulls the rest of the area down and I wish somebody, somewhere, would just pull it down.

“It’s in a shocking state and the owner should have a social responsibility to do it up.”

But owner Chris Lessani, who admits he has no immediate plans for the building, insists that it is not a danger to the public.

He said: “We have already ensured that all loose materials and window glass has been either secured or removed from the building and we will be boarding up the windows this week.

“I would assure anybody concerned about safety that we have taken all reasonable precautions to ensure the building is safe.”

Bob Steedman, East Dunbartonshire Council’s development applications manager, said: “We can confirm that the owners of the former Co-op building visited the building on Monday, January 9, and removed all panes of broken glass. We understand the owners are organising a cherry picker to remove external window frames.”

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