A MOVE to give local authorities the power to use Compulsory Purchase Orders to force the sale at auction of derelict sites and vacant land has been welcomed by a Renfrewshire councillor.

Kenny MacLaren, who represents Paisley Northwest for the SNP, has described the proposals as “good news for local councils and communities.”

The new legislation, announced by Planning Minister Kevin Stewart, would enable councils to target empty homes, abandoned shops, derelict hotels, gap sites and other eyesore areas if they are seen to be causing harm to local communities, such as by encouraging anti-social behaviour.

Mr Stewart confirmed the orders will be introduced by 2021 after proposals are drawn up by the Scottish Land Commission.

Councillor MacLaren said: “There are many sites across Renfrewshire which would benefit from such action and I’m sure many residents and communities would support this new power.

“For too long, developers have held onto historic properties and sites, letting them deteriorate year after year and, eventually, simply destroying essential parts of Paisley’s history, such as the Half Time School.”

Cllr MacLaren highlighted the former Territorial Army Hall in Paisley’s High Street, as well as the former Royal Alexandra Infirmary buildings in the south end of town, as examples of the type of sites that could benefit from the new powers.

He said: “These buildings are a concern for many local people and, once these new powers are in place, I would be encouraging the council to act as swiftly as possible.

"I am sure there are many other sites which would also benefit from such action.”