Owners get deadline for flats demolition

Tanshall flats
Tanshall flats
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OWNERS of properties in two notorious Glenrothes flats blocks have been set a demolition deadline, reports MIKE DELANEY.

They have been told the maisonettes at Huntly Drive and Durris Drive must come down by August, or the council will arrange to have the work done and bill them.

The move follows the withdrawal of appeals against demolition orders served on the owners last week.

The orders were originally served in February, but one month later the appeals were lodged on behalf of a property company once run by murdered landlord Toby Siddique and his killer brother Mo, which owned a large number of flats in the blocks.

The case went to a procedural hearing at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court at the end of that month, but the council confirmed that it had been informed the bids to block demolition had been abandoned.

Owners have been told they must clear their properties – all of which are now empty - by next month and that they will then have one month and a half to have the blocks knocked down.

If that doesn’t happen – and it is expected that it will not – then the council will appoint contractors to carry out the work, with the costs shared by the owners.

Kingdom Housing Association have been building new homes on the sites of the demolished council blocks in Tanshall and Caskieberran, but it is not yet known if that will happen in the case of the latest two blocks scheduled to fall, and legal issues may be more complex to resolve.

Fife Council solicitor, Mary McLean, commented: “The two appeals were formally withdrawn from the court process at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on May 18.  We are now continuing to process the orders.

“All interested parties have been written to and served with formal notices to confirm that the two orders are now effective.

“Individual properties have to be completely vacated by June 18 and interested parties then have six weeks to attend to the demolition of the two blocks.

“If the interested parties fail to complete the demolition by August 3, the council may then decide to carry out the demolition in terms of the housing legislation.”

Local councillor , Peter Grant, said: “There was only ever going to be one result if this appeal had gone to court.

“It’s been obvious for some time that the buildings had to come down. As they were privately owned we’ve had to go through a lengthy legal process, but at long last we’re close to having a final date when the council has the right to move in and demolish the buildings themselves if the owners either won’t or can’t do this.

“The site will still legally belong to the current owners and understandably local people are concerned about whether or not they will look after it. My own view is that the Council should look for a way of taking ownership of the land, possibly in part payment of any money the current owners owe the council. This would put the council in control of what happens to the site in the future and would give local residents some reassurance that once these eyesores are knocked down they won’t just be replaced with a derelict site.

“These flats have been a blight on people’s lives for far too long. They’ve been a source of endless problems and I recently had a bundle of letters from local school children who can’t wait to see them demolished. It now looks like their long wait is nearly over and demolition could start during the summer holidays.”