A white-elephant Montrose homeless unit is still on Angus Council’s books – three years after a knockdown offer was accepted for the building.
The 11-bedsit Queen’s Close premises was closed after a fire there in 2007.
It was then refurbished at a cost of more than £350,000 but has remained unoccupied ever since.
The major upgrade was approved a year after the fire and included additional en-suite facilities and new heating throughout.
A £25k sprinkler system and £21,500 door entry system were also installed.
Building was on the market for £200,000
The council subsequently put it on the market after failing to secure an HMO (house in multiple occupation) licence.
I was horrified to find out the council still has the Montrose homeless unit on the books.
Montrose councillor Bill Duff
It has now emerged that title deed complications and the pandemic have delayed the sale in what officials described as a “frustrating” chain of events.
Montrose SNP councillor Bill Duff said he was astonished to learn the surplus property had yet to be officially offloaded.
Mr Duff: “I was horrified to find out the council still has the Montrose homeless unit on the books.
“Years after we agreed to its sale, it is a real embarrassment we have still got it.”
He had branded the Queen’s Close debacle a “sorry story” stretching over three council administrations.
“When the annals of Angus Council are written, the saga of Montrose homeless unit will not be one of the highlights,” he previously said.
Title deed difficulties have delayed sale
Housing manager John Morrow said the sale process had taken longer to finalise than had been hoped.
“It is partly to do with the complexity of the asset itself, which is spread over not just several floors but Queen’s Close itself,” he said.
“What’s emerged is that the title deeds don’t necessarily match the title on the ground.
“Legal colleagues have had to go through a series of alternative conveyancing.”
He added: “That has made things a lot more complex than most asset disposals.”
What’s emerged is that the title deeds don’t necessarily match the title on the ground.
Angus housing manager John Morrow
He said the pandemic had also led to a delay to the process.
“Although that has settled, we are still suffering the lag.
“We are trying to push on but I appreciate it’s very frustrating,” said Mr Morrow.