VANDALS, fly tippers and fireraisers are destroying a town centre ear marked for redevelopment.

Walls have been smashed through, windows pushed out and doors wrenched off their hinges.

Members of Linwood Community Development Trust claim troublemakers are regularly gaining access to abandoned properties in their run-down town, while the community waits for demolition and the creation of a Tesco superstore to begin.

Residents have accused Renfrewshire Council and Tesco of not properly securing the site against vandalism.

Tesco bought the Linwood Town Centre site from the council and intend to develop a new supermarket and also build a new library and community facility.

But while the project drags on – long enough for Linwood to win the embarrassing Carbuncle of the Year Award – residents have grown increasingly frustrated.

Kirsty Flannigan, a member of Linwood Community Development Trust, said: "Every weekend we have been doing a walkabout of the town centre as we are very concerned about the amount of rubbish and broken glass.

"Last week we found a number of the empty houses were accessible and what we saw inside was alarming.

"There is broken glass, graffiti and there's even evidence of fires having been started. Someone could get hurt.

"Following an email to Renfrewshire Council on serious health and safety issues, these premises have now been secured but we will continue to inspect the site on a weekly basis until the hoardings are put up, as promised by Tesco.

"Local people have been calling on the company to start work as soon as possible.

"The run-down state of the centre led to Linwood being awarded the Plook on the Plinth award for the most depressing town in Scotland."

Kirsty went on: "There's still no clarity about who is responsible for keeping the site secure – is it Tesco or Renfrewshire Council?

"At the end of the day, we just want the site to be secured and for work to start as soon as possible."

While the centre is now derelict, it is still used a thoroughfare by local people who need to travel through the area to go to the library, Tweedie Hall, the health centre, Linstone Housing Association and to get back to their own homes.

Kirsty said the community is not being fully involved in the process to develop the town.

She added: "All these deals are being done without proper consultation with the community.

"We have been hearing from local people on a daily basis that their needs are not being met during major regeneration projects, including the £23.4 million sports centre and the forthcoming community centre being built for Renfrewshire Council by Tesco.

"Both these facilities are being built, not for Linwood but for the whole of Renfrewshire and beyond.

"They will generate vast amounts of income for Renfrewshire Leisure and Renfrewshire Council, however, most Linwood residents will be priced-out from using them.

"We fought for a 3G pitch at the sports centre, for our children who play football, and presented findings from a consultation we carried out for what people wanted within the community centre – all of which have been ignored."

A Tesco spokesman said: "We appreciate the litter issue being raised and will discuss this with Renfrewshire Council.

"Securing the town centre and building a new store is really important to us and we are keen it happens as soon as possible.

"We are working closely with Renfrewshire Council to meet the timescales for the town centre redevelopment, with work taking place in April.

"Our plans for Linwood remain our most ambitious in Scotland."

A spokesman for Renfrewshire Council said: "We have secured all the buildings that we are responsible for and the Linwood Community Development Trust has emailed the council to thank us for our prompt action.

"The Council's Environmental Services will be carrying out a special spring clean in the area. We are also doing all we can to help Tesco to meet the timetable published on its website."