The long-running problem of identifying ownership of derelict Rothesay buildings came under the spotlight at Bute Community Council this week.
The issue was highlighted by BCC member Martin Catlin, who asked if there was any scope for Argyll and Bute Council to intervene at a gap site in Bishop Street in the centre of the town.
“My concern was about absent owners,” Mr Catlin said. “I’ve been told there are five owners: can it be made easy to identify the people who own it and to state our concerns to them, or for developers to come in and develop the site? It lets down the built integrity of the whole street.”
Local Argyll and Bute councillor Len Scoullar said the site was not owned by the council and had not been declared unsafe, meaning there was no scope for the authority to take action against the owners.
“It might be possible,” he added, “to put some pressure on the owners as a result of the new rules on council tax [where the council intends to charge double council tax on properties which have been empty for two years].”
BCC member Paul Duffy said he was happy to examine the issue of identifying owners of derelict properties in the town and to bring a report back to the community council’s next meeting.
The Bishop Street site is not the first gap site in Rothesay to come under critical public gaze: an empty site in Guildford Square is currently being redeveloped by local firm George Hanson Building Contractors, having been purchased from the council last summer, while the volunteer Bute in Bloom group is looking at the future of two other patches of vacant land, one in Gallowgate and one in Montague Street at the rear of the Victoria Hotel.