Bid for action on burnt-out luxury homes at Westerton

new houses in westerton-fire'em'13/7/10
new houses in westerton-fire'em'13/7/10

DEMANDS have been made for action to be taken on burnt-out luxury homes which have lain derelict for years after a property company collapsed.

A councillor wants the houses on Maxwell Avenue, opposite Westerton Train Station in Bearsden, to be cleaned up and developed as they are attracting “undesirables” and arsonists.

Councillor Vaughan Moody has written to the company he believes is responsible for the site’s upkeep, demanding action.

The three town houses have been the subject of vandalism and graffiti since a fire in July last year which extensively damaged one property and caused smoke damage to the other two.

Councillor Moody has written to Bruce Mann of W M Mann and Company (Investments) Ltd, who appear to be the only party with an interest in the properties following the insolvency of IKRA Developments (Bearsden) Ltd in December 2009.

IKRA were listed on company records in Edinburgh as the owners of the development, known as Maxwell Mews.

It is understood that W M Mann provided the capital for the project and is the main creditor.

Councillor Moody said: “It is a bit complicated. We have a piece of land owned by a company that no longer exists.”

The councillor has been contacted by a number of residents and asked what is happening with the development.

He said: “It is a magnet for all sorts of undesirables. The police know about it and have secured the property. They are keeping an eye on it, but there is still a lot of mess and damage and all they can do really is slow down the deterioration.”

As well as the graffiti police have received reports of youths getting into one of the houses and starting a fire.

In his letter to Mr Mann, Councillor Moody thanks him for visiting the site and for agreeing to remove graffiti, adding: “As it is clear to me that your company W M Mann & Co. has a stake in the site, I will outline some of the issues that local people have raised with me as their councillor.

“Early on, the original developers went over the boundary of the site into the back gardens of two properties in Crarae Avenue. This issue is still unresolved. At roughly the same time, on the other side of the site, they dug into the hillside so both families at 105 and 107 Maxwell Avenue had to be evacuated. This issue was resolved.

“A set of steps has been built from the driveway in the development to the edge of Maxwell Avenue, even though the planning permission was for an extension of the main Maxwell Avenue pathway along the front of this site.

“It appears to me that it is in the interest of both my constituents and W M Mann & Co to have this site developed in an organised and rapid manner. I would appreciate your views.”

Following the fire last year police launched a probe into a suspected arson attack, although no-one has been charged.

At the time the three town houses had been up for sale for a long time at offers over £385,000 each. The price had been dropped from £450,000 at the height of the property boom.

A spokesman for Milngavie police confirmed this was a case of wilful fire raising with accelerant used in each of the three town houses. Two failed to caused much damage other than that caused by smoke before the alarm was raised by neighbours, but the windows were blown out in a third which had structural damage as a result.

Planning permission was originally granted in April 2005 and Maxwell Mews has been fraught with problems throughout its development.

The Herald contacted Mr Mann but he refused to comment.