The Glenwood Centre in Glenrothes is to be demolished.
Fife Council is to start the process of redeveloping the run down shopping centre by knocking it down.
Councillors at the assets and facilities committee on Thursday agreed to a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO), as the first stage in the process.
It allows thelocal authority to buy the shops and flats at the Glenwood Centre so they can be demolished.
Norman Laird, Glenrothes community manager, told the meeting: “This represents a significant milestone in moving forward with the redevelopment of the Glenwood area.
“The centre has been the scene of anti-social behaviour over the years. It is in such a state, it is no longer a viable retail centre and presents a major blight on the area.
“The plans to flatten the site represent the view of the local community which was part of a major consultation. The views was that the viability of the area is unsustainable and that demolition is the only way forward.
“Our objective would be to clear out the site and not have it vacant for too long.
“The masterplan and development plan will be running alongside the CPO, so we will have a redevelopment plan that will be transformative for the local community.”
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A number of shops and flats in the centre are still occupied. Owners will now be given market value for the properties so work can move forward.
The centre dates from the 1960s and complaints over the condition of the properties, and social problems, started almiost on day one.
Mr Laird said: “The situation has been exacerbated through out the years with increased anti-social behaviour, drugs, crime issues, which have all affected its reputation, making it an area of last resort for people.
“In fact we ceased all allocations of housing in the flats as it was making a bad situation worse for the area. All of these have contributed to a spiral of decline.”
Cllr David Alexander agreed, saying: “It’s not somewhere you’d want to walk through and especially not at night.
“But we have the potential to do something really great there if we get this right.”
The centre is located next to some more modern retail units, and it’s hoped any new developments would complement them.
Cllr Karen Marjoram raised concerns about making people homeless, but Mr Laird said that all council tenants will be given high priority to rehouse them, and they were offering support to private tenants to find new housing.
Convenor Cllr Craig Walker, committee convener, said he was delighted with the decision.
He added: “This is fantastic news for the whole area.
“We spent a long time talking to local people, to find out from them what they most wanted to see happen. It became clear that most viewed the transformation of the Glenwood Centre as key to helping the area move on.
“We gave the community three regeneration options, and the clear view that came through, was that people felt the Glenwood Centre had to go.”
Emma O'Neill , Local Democracy Reporting Service