New powers which could help Fife Council tackle derelict sites have been welcomed but one MSP warned resources are needed to make change happen.
New powers announced by the Scottish Government will allow the local authority to order the sale of derelict buildings and gap sites.
Housing Minister Kevin Stewart announced compulsory sale orders will be introduced by 2021 which will allow councils to compel building and land owners to sell sites instead of leaving them to lie empty.
Dunfermline SNP MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville has welcomed the opportunities the new powers could bring to clear up eyesore buildings and said the new powers represented an excellent opportunity to encourage local development.
“Residents will be well aware of sites in the local area which are in need of regeneration.
“Compulsory sale orders will be an important tool in the council’s armour to help make this happen.
“As well as being an eyesore, derelict buildings can be a magnet for anti-social behaviour. Communities will certainly benefit if problem sites are cleaned up and re-purposed.”
She said she would be encouraging the council to make use of the powers when they become available.
Labour Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Alex Rowley has campaigned for many years about the blots on the landscape.
He said: “I welcome any additional powers for councils to address the dereliction that blights too many town centres.
“However, powers on their own without the resources needed to drive regeneration will mean I fear more of the same.
“Continual cuts to council budgets have reduced the capacity of councils and their ability to address these issues so we need to see more resources to make change happen.”
Also welcoming the extra powers, Labour councillor Altany Craik, the strategic planning convener, said: “In Fife we have managed to use the vacant and derelict land funds to bring land back in to use but there are still many derelict sites that are a blight on our communities and ownership is a major factor in what can be done.
“The planned powers may help with this by unlocking some sites.
“This proposed new legislation will allow us to take action to ensure developers can’t hold on to an area of land for years without developing it.”