Trying to track down property owners in Glasgow can be like trying to find a comb in Boris Johnson’s suit pocket.

When you look at the state of some of the buildings perhaps it is no surprise some want to go under the radar.

Glasgow city centre is home to some of the most wonderful architecture you are likely to see in any European city.

READ MORE: Spotlight: Trongate buildings at risk left to decay for decades

A walk along the main streets and a meander into some of the others will be rewarded with a variety of styles, innovative design and craftsmanship of the highest level.

As well as the big grand statement buildings like the City Chambers, there are many other smaller constructions that are equally magnificent.

Just remember to look up.

Sadly, you will also see some of the worst examples of urban neglect on display anywhere on these islands.

Glasgow Times:

In some cases, cheek by jowl there is splendour and decay.

READ MORE: Spotlight: Glasgow eyesores that need the owners to take responsibility

And the truth is there is no need for it.

The city has lost many examples of architectural importance though neglect.

Sometimes it has led to a building being so unsafe it needs to be demolished, in other cases fire has devastated a vacant property and demolition is the only safe solution.

This week The Glasgow Times has been looking at Sauchiehall Street, Queen Street and Trongate and highlighting examples of empty buildings that are in a state of disrepair or unsightly due to long term neglect.

Owners have been able to maintain ownership without maintaining the building. No doubt, waiting for the big pay day when the site is sold off in a lucrative deal to make way for shiny new offices, flats or a hotel.

In some cases, there have been plans mooted for developments, often involving demolition and replacing with hotels or flats.

Ownership is often complicated and opaque. One site can have multiple owners, sometimes different floors are owned by different entities.

And identifying who the owners are and trying to establish contact to open dialogue is not as straightforward as it perhaps should be.

Ownership is listed in the Land Register of Scotland.

In several cases, as the Glasgow Times discovered, it is a business registered in the Channel Islands.

It would appear there is a huge property and development sector in Jersey and Guernsey.

Glasgow Times:

If the Land Register is accurate, you could be forgiven for thinking you would find it difficult to walk down a high street in those islands without bumping into a Glasgow property owner.

The reality is, that is unlikely.

Trying to find a telephone number or email address for some of these owners is often a fruitless task.

‘Yer on tae plums,’ some might say.

Glasgow Times:

It looks like they are sitting on these sites until the right offer comes along for a big hotel or residential development.

For some it has been decades.

In the meantime, the look of the city centre is fading fast, buildings are at risk of becoming unsafe and decline breeds decline.

Unless they are actually unsafe, the council can’t take any meaningful action against owners.

Take a peek behind the boarded up site in Sauchiehall Street and you will find an overgrown mini urban jungle.

Abandoned to let nature take over.

Across the street, the old BHS building, never an architectural gem to begin with, is filthy and covered in graffiti.

Which would of course never have been the case when it was occupied.

When occupied the owners or tenants are looking after properties because it is in their interest to do so.

Once empty, they allow it to become run down.

We all have a role to play in keeping the city a clean and pleasing place to be.

As individuals we can not drop litter and treat our streets with respect.

The council and other authorities have responsibility to ensure the buildings and land under municipal ownership is maintained.

That is not always the case with old schools and community buildings left to decay and then go on fire.

And private land and building owners need to be held accountable if it is their property that is a blot on the landscape.

If they don’t want to maintain their property then hand it over to someone who will.

Just because they can’t find a tenant due to economic conditions is not an excuse to treat our city with contempt.

The recent economic downturn and pandemic impact is not the reason behind the current state of many city centre properties as they have been left to rot since long before the pandemic and long before the 2008 financial crash in some cases.

There is a huge job to be tackled in transforming Glasgow city centre into a vibrant destination for either business, leisure or residential as retail moves out.

We can’t allow the negligence of some property owners, who don’t want to spend any cash as they wait for it to realise a windfall one day to derail those efforts.

They need to clean up their act.