Published 18 August 2023
By Bill Heaney
When you are short of ideas for future land development that neither you nor your predecessors had any idea what to do with then the easy way out is to sell it.
Which means that more and more publicly owned land is being sold off by West Dunbartonshire Council.
The site of a former day care centre and four other pieces of council-owned land are set to be sold by the council, which frequently claims to be cash-strapped, for a total of £1 million.
Councillors at this week’s Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development committee were told that buyers had been secured for a number of unused sites.
They include a site at Auchentoshan Estate in Clydebank which was home to a day care centre until it closed in 2009 and has lain empty since the building was demolished, for a price of £225,000 plus VAT.
Developer Brian Kilgour is proposing, subject to planning permission, to develop the site for social housing, with a mix of new build detached, semi-detached and terraced homes.
The spin doctors who have made the announcement – with political approval, of course – have conveniently omitted to say what percentage of the planned new homes will be for social housing.
An electric vehicle charging station and battery site is planned for Duntocher Road.
A buyer has also been found for disused land at Duntocher Road, adjacent to Kilbowie Roundabout, with a price of £500,000 plus VAT, which will be used, subject to planning, to develop an electric vehicle charging station and battery storage.
Bus hire company Torwood Estates Ltd/Carrs of Loch Lomond will purchase an adjacent block to their existing premises in Lomond Industrial Estate, Alexandria, at a cost of £170,000 plus VAT. The company is a well-established firm and a significant employer in the area.
In addition, property at 102 Main Street in Alexandria, which was formerly a dentist but has lain empty for a number of years, will be sold for commercial use for £43,101 plus vat which should help to take the dystopian look off the Vale town centre.
Meanwhile, a light industrial unit will be created at Levenside Road in Vale of Leven Industrial Estate after it attracted an offer of £51,789 plus vat.
Labour councillors David McBride and Lawrence O’Neill.
Councillor David McBride, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “Many of these sites have been unused for a number of years and in some cases have attracted vandalism or anti-social behavior.
“I’m pleased that these disposals will not only bring the sites back in productive use for the benefit of our communities, but also generate a capital receipt of almost £1 million for the Council.”
Councillor Lawrence O’Neill, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “These sales are fantastic news for the Council and our communities. It is particularly pleasing that developers see so much potential in buying and running businesses in West Dunbartonshire.
“Thanks must go to officers who have worked hard to successfully market these sites.”
If nearly all of the sites have been lying empty for ten years or more then it doesn’t say much for the officers’ ability to market them.