The owners of a Govanhill flat which was infested with pigeons and has been described as a “health hazard” have objected to a council plan to compulsory purchase the property.

Glasgow City Council wants to buy 3/1 178 Allison Street to allow Govanhill Housing Association to bring the property back into use, but the owners have claimed the move is “neither justified nor appropriate".

Officials served a closing order on the flat five years ago as it did not meet the “tolerable standard” and has been branded  a “danger” to neighbours.

They also reported there was an outstanding repayment charge of £22,640 by January as the council had issued a repairs notice in 2010 and carried out statutory work on the property.

Council tax arrears were over £9000.

Glasgow Times:

Govanhill Ltd, which bought the property in January 2017, has claimed a compulsory purchase order [CPO] is “unnecessary” and “the scale of the works is well within the capacity of an owner of moderate means".

A reporter has been appointed by the Scottish Government to assess the case and an inquiry is set to be held, with a decision expected by December.

The previous owner sold the flat to Govanhill Ltd, owned by Wasim Raza, in January 2017 without carrying out repairs listed in the closing order.

In August 2019, the council secured the property “to stop and prevent illegal occupation".

The owners have said it appeared “either a contractor or an employee of a contractor may have remained overnight” without consent.

They added a “locked steel gate over the entrance” is preventing them from completing repairs.

Documents submitted to the Scottish Government reveal the owners said they were willing to start talks over a sale on “fair and reasonable” terms in September last year. They claimed Covid, and the closing order, had delayed repairs.

Glasgow Times:

In a submitted document to the Scottish Government, Richard Thorburn, secretary at Govanhill Ltd, said: “The practical difficulty is that the company has effectively been excluded from its own property by the actions of Glasgow City Council.”

However, a council official said the only time entry had been refused was when Covid restrictions were in place.

Council staff then met with representatives from Govanhill Ltd in October to allow access to the flat and asked for “a scheme of works with timescales".

“The property cannot be left any longer in the condition it is currently in,” a council official added.

He asked the owners to consider a sale to Govanhill Housing Association if the required repairs were “too costly".

The council contacted the owners in December 2020 to inform them, as repairs had not been completed, a compulsory purchase was planned.

Three offers for a voluntary sale, including one of £80,000 based on the district valuer’s market valuation, had been made by Govanhill Housing Association.

Council officials reported: “The owners did not respond to any of these offers and are refusing to progress negotiations.”

Requesting a compulsory purchase, the council said: “In its current state of serious disrepair, the property is a health hazard and a danger to the occupiers of the neighbouring properties.”

However, Mr Thorburn has claimed there is an “apparent conflict of interest” as the council has made public “its desire to extend the proportion of publicly owned residential properties in the Govanhill area".

The company secretary said: “While the policy is no doubt laudable, its inevitable consequence is to call into question Glasgow City Council’s position as a disinterested actor, in particular in its dealings in regard to residential properties in Govanhill.”

He added: “While there is little doubt that Govanhill contains residential properties where public acquisition is appropriate, and may be the only practical way in which properties can be restored to full and normal use, the property to which the present order relates is not such a property.”

Mr Thorburn said a “comprehensive programme of repairs” had been undertaken in the property, which has been unoccupied since it was “subject to vandalism and fire damage,” but the work is “uncompleted".

He said cleaning pigeon droppings, though “undoubtedly unpleasant”, is “not a large job and can be rapidly accomplished once normal access to the property has been restored".

The council reported it had paid for removal of the pigeon infestation in the attic and for cleaning.