Demolition job a ‘scandal’

Councillors Gary O'Rorke, left, and Sam Love in Orbiston Street
Councillors Gary O'Rorke, left, and Sam Love in Orbiston Street

A decision to demolish bungalows and flats in Motherwell despite a long council waiting list for homes has been branded “scandalous”.

It’s claimed an agreement by councillors to investigate saving the properties was ignored in an affront to democracy.

Councillors Gary O’Rorke and Sam Love have accused North Lanarkshire Council chiefs of re-writing the record of a sub-committee meeting at which the future of the Orbiston Street buildings was discussed.

They insist their idea of a survey of the 11 bungalows and 12 flats in the light of interest from a third party was agreed unanimously at the regeneration and infrastructure sub-committee meeting this month.

However, the record of that meeting was put before the policy and resources committee last week and stated the item had been withdrawn.

The committee then approved the demolition of the homes which are all empty and boarded up.

It’s understood the council is keen to have industrial units built there.

A furious Councillor O’Rorke said: “It’s a scandal that, when we have a waiting list of more than 13,000, the council is demolishing 
these properties without a full assessment of their condition.

“The bungalows face into a courtyard and are close to shops and a health centre.

“They would be ideal for pensioners and I believe refurbishment costs would be relatively low. The worst aspect of this is that the motion put forward by Councillor Love, seconded by me and agreed by all councillors present, has been ignored.

“It’s a breakdown of the democratic process.”

Councillor Love, formerly the council’s housing convener, claimed a report that the properties were not up to national standards was “misleading” and he had been told council leader Jim Logue wanted demolition approved ahead of the council elections in May.

He added: “The sub-committee chairman allowed our motion to be heard and officers to speak. If he wanted the item withdrawn it should have gone to the vote.”

A council spokesman said the issue had been dealt with in private and he could not comment in detail.

He stated: “An item withdrawn from the regeneration sub-committee was subsequently considered by the policy and resources committee.

“The item concerned a piece of land which was disposed of in accordance with council policy.”