Frustration is mounting over an historic public building in Kilcreggan which is has been left empty for more than five years.
The former Rainbow Centre has been on the market for more than five years – Argyll and Bute Council’s original closing date for offers to buy the property was April 20, 2012.
A total of 1,908 days later the Grade C-listed building, a former school, is still empty, despite the council saying in late 2012 that negotiations for the sale were ‘ongoing.’
Susie Will is keen to expand the Cove and Kilcreggan Youth Café, which she runs nearby, and noted an interest in the building at a community empowerment event organised by the council back in March – since then she has heard nothing.
“I find it difficult to believe that the council can still exclusively have an interested buyer for the Rainbow Centre for this length of time, without total clarity, to the detriment of the fabric of a historical local building, and the community needs,” she said this week.
“This seems so strange that I feel for the community, some openness and clarity should be given into the nature of this proposed action.
“What is NOT happening is in contravention to the very stipulations of the publicised and promoted community empowerment law, itself promoted by Argyll and Bute Council.”
Under new legislation which came into effect this year, registered community transfer bodies can make applications to public authorities to acquire land and property which is not listed for sale.
The council website says there is a presumption of approval – unless there are ‘reasonable grounds for the council to refuse the request’.
The Rainbow Centre is one of almost 40 buildings, worth a total of over £3m, which this website revealed after a long freedom of information battle to b left empty or disused by Argyll and Bute Council.
In 2016 a request to see the interior of the 150 year-old property was refused by the council, and last month it was strangely excluded from a report listing all disused council property in the council area.
In may this year a council spokesperson said the building remained under offer, adding: “We have been working to address conveyancing issues and hope to settle soon.”
Today a spokesperson responded to the youth café interest by saying: “The organisation expressed an interest in purchasing the property and were informed it was under offer. We are in contact with the purchaser to progress the conveyancing.”