Is there hope on the horizon for fire-hit homes?

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

THREE luxury properties that have been boarded up for more than a year following an arson attack could be back on the market soon.

The town houses on Maxwell Avenue, next to Westerton train station were built at the height of the property boom, but following the collapse of the company that built them, IKRA Developments (Bearsden) Ltd in December 2009, they have been unoccupied.

They were subsequently vandalised and subjected to a suspected arson attempt in July the following year.

Vaughan Moody, the councillor for the area, said: “There appears to be one or two things happening now, but I’m not holding my breath.

“The owner has been in contact with the council and in theory they could start work the middle of this month.”

Councillor Moody wrote to Bruce Mann of W M Mann and Company (Investments) Ltd, who he said appear to be the only party with an interest in the properties following the insolvency of IKRA Developments.

It is understood W M Mann was the main creditor when IKRA - who was listed on company records in Edinburgh as the owners of the development, known as Maxwell Mews - folded.

Sorting out the legal ownership has taken some time. Councillor Moody said: “It is a bit complicated. We have a piece of land owned by a company that no longer exists.”

Bob Steedman, the council’s development applications manager, said: “We worked with the construction firm who built these homes to ensure that after they were damaged by fire they were made safe to a standard acceptable to us.

“We have since taken enforcement action to ensure that a longer term plan is put in place for the future of these buildings.

“We hope that they will be repaired and completed so that they can be sold and inhabited. We continue to monitor the situation.”

Maxwell Mews has been beset with problems for the start.

Planning permission was granted in April 2005 and when building work did finally get underway the original developers went over the boundary of the site into the back gardens of two properties in Crarae Avenue.

And 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.

A set of steps has also 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.

The houses were on the market for a long time at offers over £385,000 each.

The price was dropped from £450,000 at the height of the property boom.