Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Yet another ‘derelict’ initiative

After the recent news of attempts to use legislation to force owners of derelict property to sell it, there is news of an initiative intended to rejuvenate vacant and derelict land.

I wonder if there is any connection or relation between those behind these efforts, and the coincidental timing of their appearance?

A task force to develop some of Scotland’s 12,000 hectares of vacant and derelict land is being launched.

A register of disused property was set up 30 years ago but the total area – around twice the size of Dundee – has barely changed since.

The project aims to find ways of bringing derelict land back into productive use.

The target of the task force is to halve the amount of land on the register by 2025.

The group – set up by the Scottish Land Commission and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) – will examine the impact on vacant land of planning policy and legislation.

It will also look at practical ways for the land to be utilised.

Task force to develop derelict land in Scotland launched

As with the preceding housing initiative, while I don’t want to be misinterpreted as being in some way opposed to the idea, I do have similar concerns.

If those houses, and now this land, is such ‘hot property’, why haven’t the existing owners cashed in, and made some money, instead of (probably) losing money by leaving their supposed gold mines undeveloped?

I speak from sad experience, having inherited a small house, ended up paying various charges/bills/taxes associated with it, and then had to sell at a loss to get rid of it and its associated liabilities.

While every case is different, I can’t help but wonder at the wisdom of effectively ‘forcing’ sales and development of land and property (which has not inspired such a thing on its own), and how long such forced projects will survive once the novelty has worn off, and they have to survive on their own merits.

It would be interesting to see, after say 10 year or so perhaps, how many of the projects arising from this sort of legislation are still in place and economic, and how many have not been sustainable, and reverted to back to vacancy or dereliction.

Coincidentally, there were two stories seen in the news along with the above, one related to possible success, and the the other to failure.

In the first, refurbishment of an abandoned dry dock has led to positive proposals.

New steel could be made from metal recycled from decommissioned offshore oil and gas structures under a plan for one of Europe’s largest dry docks.

Liberty Steel, part of a group that owns the Fort William aluminium smelter, has proposed constructing an arc furnace for the work at Kishorn.

The dry dock in the west Highlands was established in the 1970s.

It has now been refurbished and made available for new work, including recycling offshore infrastructure.

Arc furnace planned for dry dock at Kishorn

But in the second, dry docks that have lain abandoned and decaying for some thirty years, with no development (although housing seems to be probably), and not attracted any serious commercial development.

Senior politicians from three parties have backed calls for a new industrial strategy to help “save” former ship repair sites on the Clyde.

A letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon says the Inchgreen dry dock in Greenock and Govan Graving Docks have needlessly been allowed to decay.

Campaigners want an action plan to stop marine industry sites being lost to housing or retail development.

The owners of both sites have insisted they have plans for their future.

The STUC along with 23 MPs and MSPs from the SNP, Labour and the Greens have endorsed a joint letter to the first minister from the Campaign to Save Inchgreen Dry Dock and the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative.

Call for industrial strategy to ‘save’ crumbling Clyde docks

While the first story about Kishorn looks hopeful, being based on an actual proposal for commercial use, sadly, the second seems to be little more than hot air from those with political motives, and claims that amount to ‘Conspiracy Theories’.

I worked in some of those docks, and it’s always been depressing to see that nobody came up with a practical and economic use for them years ago, before they decayed.

If they were so good, why didn’t one, or more, of the successful overseas shipbuilders snap them up years ago, when they could probably have been acquired for ‘Fire Sale’ prices?

We’ll see.

These docks are outside my range, but I found a great night pic, taken in 2008, from Thomas Nugent’s collection.

Construction of a floating jetty for the MOD continues night and day in Inchgreen dry dock

Construction of a floating jetty for the MOD continues night and day in Inchgreen dry dock

25/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , | Leave a comment


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