Council agree to compulsory purchase 4 ‘blight’ homes in Glasgow

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Four long-term empty homes in Glasgow which are a “blight” on their communities will be taken over by the council.

Councillors have agreed to pursue compulsory purchase orders [CPO] for the properties, one of which has been vacant for over 15 years, in the south of the city.

They will be handed over to housing associations which will bring them back into use as affordable housing. Owners will be given the chance to sell voluntarily before the CPOs are completed and are entitled to seek compensation for the loss of their property.

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The homes – at 73 Rylees Crescent, Penilee, Flat 2/2 4 Melville Street, Pollokshields, Flat 0/2 35 Westmoreland Street, Govanhill and Flat 0/4 94 Allison Street, Govanhill – would be transferred to the Wheatley Group, Southside Housing Association and Govanhill Housing Association.

The house in Penilee.The house in Penilee.
The house in Penilee. | Contributed

Cllr Kenny McLean, the council’s housing convener, said: “The transfer of these empty homes would allow them to be brought back to productive use, add to the availability of much-needed affordable housing in the city, improve the quality of properties, prevent anti-social behaviour and stop the blight on their local communities that they have created.”

Wheatley Group would take on the mid-terrace house at Rylees Crescent, Penilee, which has been empty since September 2006. Council officials described the property as “a blight on the area” which is “attracting anti-social behaviour” and is “the focus of persistent complaints”.

Govanhill Housing Association would carry out repairs and then manage Flat 0/2 Westmoreland Street, which is in a poor condition. The council has reported the landlord of the property failed to contribute “on a voluntary basis when owners carried out major common repair works” in 2013.

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A council official told councillors the owner had “effectively abandoned the property”. “Although there were people occupying the property illegally, we can advise members that just recently we have managed to find the tenants alternative accommodation.”

Flat 2/2 at 4 Melville Street hasn’t been occupied since it was the subject of “statutory intervention” after the owners didn’t “carry out essential common repairs voluntarily when the buildings fell into a state of serious disrepair”.

It remains “a source of anti-social behaviour” and the takeover would allow Southside Housing Association carry out a five-year maintenance scheme for the building.

The housing association would also run Flat 0/4 94 Allison Street, where the council has been unsuccessful at tracking down the owner. It has reported the property has been “lying abandoned for a number of years and is in poor condition”.

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These four CPOs are the latest in a series of planned acquisitions by the council, which is aiming to turn “unfit homes” into social housing. The council official said: “I think that’s us up to about 56 properties we have sought authority to compulsory purchase since 2019.

“There’s probably at the moment about 2,500 empty homes across the city. We can’t compulsory purchase every property and our first aim is to negotiate once we track down the owners and encourage them to bring these properties back into use.”

It is hoped the acquisitions will remove neighbourhood blight and ensure future maintenance of the homes. Restoring rundown, vacant homes is part of the council’s empty homes strategy. Funding for the CPOs is made available through the affordable housing supply programme, a Scottish Government fund.

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