More than 60 council and ex-council houses are to be demolished in four Clydesdale villages despite 16,000 families in South Lanarkshire being on the waiting list for such homes.
South Lanarkshire Council has taken the first steps to secure planning consent to pull down 20 houses apiece in Carstairs Junction and Rigside, plus 12 each in Glespin and Douglas Water.
Explaining that move, it claimed that despite a nationwide shortage of social housing, no one wants these particular homes.
However, an independent organisation has expressed an interest in taking over and refurbishing the properties rather than see these already-diminished ex-mining and railway communities shrink further.
The council’s housing director, Daniel Lowe, said this week: “Demand for social rented housing in South Lanarkshire is generally very high, and the council is working to increase the supply of affordable housing in areas of real housing pressure.
“The demand for housing, however, is not uniform with some areas, particularly in rural Clydesdale, experiencing very low or no demand for social rented housing.
“Following consultation with local communities and community planning partners, the council has approved a very limited demolition programme, currently across four settlements that, due to the number of long-term empty properties and lack of demand, have been assessed as surplus.
“The council is committed to promoting the sustainability of these settlements.”
However, Bill Nicol, director of the Hometown Foundation, the charity that unsuccessfully applied for planning permission to build a new town in the Douglas Valley, said: “We would definitely see a more positive role for these villages.
“These are communities, not disposable commodities.
“These assets should be invested in, and the council should adopt a more positive approach to the former Clydesdale area, representing the people that elected them and looking at solutions.
“The Hometown Foundation would be more than happy to look at these to assets.”