Fife Council leader Alex Rowley has used a derelict building in Kelty to highlight the need for Fife Council to review the powers it has to address ‘such dereliction’ in local communities and has pledged to take a campaign to the Scottish Parliament for more powers.
Mr Rowley said; “I have asked officials from property, legal and development services to provide me with a brief on what powers we have to force owners of these buildings which blight local communities to take action. I have highlighted a building in Kelty which is on the main entrance into the village and is a total eyesore and I want to use it as a case study to test our powers for taking action against the owner.
The Labour councillor has been advised previously that as long as the building poses no risk to the public there is nothing the council can do. This according to Mr Rowley is ‘not good enough’ and he is pledging a campaign for action. He said; “It is not good enough that property speculators can buy up old buildings and let them just deteriorate with no maintenance to the point that they blight the whole area. We are proposing to make investment in town and village centres to support them through the economic down turn, but we need the powers to act against property owners who will not maintain their properties.
“If the information I have had to date is correct then I will be proposing that the Council makes direct representations to the Scottish government and we take our campaign to the Scottish Parliament. Town and village centres are important for the health and wellbeing of any community and we cannot allow them to be blighted in this way by derelict buildings. If the owners will not take responsibility then we must be able to take action”.
Mr Rowley also confirmed that he has written to finance officials seeking clarification on the rules and legal requirements to pay tax on these properties and that he has asked for a report to be brought to a meeting of Fife Councils executive committee in early 2014.