DEMOLITION is not a viable option for the dangerous building that has forced the closure of part of Helensburgh’s seafront street, a new report has revealed.

East Clyde Street has been shut between Sinclair Street and Maitland Street since debris from the property fell on to the carriageway in high winds on October 31.

But an Argyll and Bute Council report warns that the authority is “not in a position to undertake a permanent solution at this time” because of the cost and complexity involved.

Work on making the structure safe began on November 9 – but since the closure, residents, businesses and others in the community have asked the council to buy and demolish the building to bring an end to a saga which stretches back many years.

Kirsty Flanagan, the authority’s executive director of development and economic growth, says that while demolishing the building at 5-7 East Clyde Street, which is in multiple private ownership, “would remove the danger and ongoing concerns regarding the property”, demolition is also “highly complex, given the property layout and adjacent buildings”.

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Ms Flanagan's report says that demolishing the building – currently in an uninhabitable state – would cost between £150,000 and £200,000, but that the council would be unlikely to recover those costs.

It also says demolition “would not realise a saleable asset”.

The report also reveals that when the current urgent repairs are completed, the council will have incurred costs of around £85,000 on making the structure safe, “with little likelihood of recovery” – but that the authority will continue to seek to reclaim the debt from the various individual property owners.

Ms Flanagan says in her report: “There is a longstanding history to the property at 5-7 East Clyde Street, Helensburgh where the council have had to undertake statutory works due to the dangerous nature of the building.

“The building is currently unoccupied, with multiple owners, and not in a condition which would allow reoccupation without significant investment.”

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Reinstating the property to a habitable condition, according to the report, would carry a cost in the region of £350,000 to £400,000.

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Ms Flanagan states: “The council accepts that there is a need to identify a permanent solution to the building at 5-7 East Clyde Street, Helensburgh as it will continue to deteriorate and the council may continue to incur substantial costs.

“That said, the council is not in a position to undertake a permanent solution at this time given the considerable costs associated with the option to demolish or refurbish with no financial gain.

“Consequently, the council’s only viable option at this time is to remove the immediate danger to the public as empowered to do under the Building (Scotland) Act 2003.

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“It is further proposed that the council will continue to actively engage with the owners, and all other interested parties, to consider the further options for this building which occupies a prominent position in Helensburgh town centre.”

The report will be considered at a full council meeting to be held on Thursday, November 26.

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