Proposals to get tough on derelict buildings

Councillors in Dumfries and Galloway are being asked to agree proposals ensuring “a proactive approach in dealing with derelict buildings across the region”.

If agreed, buildings or sites which are either in serious state of disrepair, derelict or causing serious blight will be looked at with a view to addressing their negative impact. The starting point for this is positive engagement with property or land owners to seek to identify solutions and investment required to make improvements.

The council said this week that elected members will also have to decide on whether to resource this proactive approach as there are no dedicated staff dealing with this issue.

A spokesman said: “Addressing derelict properties and sites is complex and time-consuming, requiring input from across the council including legal, property, regulatory, planning, housing and regeneration based services, but the new approach would mean an initial single point of contact for the public.

“Other advantages include the ability to build more effective relationships with property and land owners, the identification of actions in conjunction with local communities and better partnership working to bring derelict buildings back into use.”

Councillor Colin Smyth, Chairman of the Economy and Environment and Infrastructure Committee said: “There is a real desire from councillors for a more proactive approach to dealing with the derelict properties that too often plague our communities. We need to get much tougher with the owners of derelict property, as the primary responsibility for the condition of these buildings rests with them. This new approach will mean a new mechanism for dealing with problem owners which includes using the full force of the law when required.”