An Ellon and District Councillor has welcomed the news that work has began on a derelict property described as an ‘eyesore’ in the town.
Aberdeenshire Council have started carrying out work on the building after the owner did not respond to a notice that they were issued with.
The condition of the house - located on 2 Union Street in Ellon - has concerned the community for many years.
Councillor Rob Merson has been calling for action to be taken on the property since 2007.
Members of the Formartine Area Committee decided that the property owner would be served with a notice to bring the building up to an acceptable standard under the Town & Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997, and new powers brought in under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006.
The owner received the notice but failed to respond by the time scale given.
Mr Merson said: “I have been making representations on behalf of successive owners of neighbouring properties since 2007, but a resolution has been delayed by a series of legal and legislative obstacles.
“However, the eventual coming into force of the Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 opened the way for a more effective approach to be taken, and I was delighted that the Formartine Area Committee voted unanimously in support of robust action.
“I met with the Director of Infrastructure Services in January this year, and he convened a meeting of the various services required to co-ordinate action.”
Is is thought that there was a disagreement over the property some years ago and it had been hoped that an agreement would have been made, but it never happened.
The ongoing issue has been discussed at numerous meetings by local councillors, as well as Ellon Community Council, the Ellon Strategy Forum and by Formartine Area Committee.
The deteriorating property has suffered from various problems over the years.
Mr Merson added: “The property has been the subject of several attempted break-ins and vandalisms over the years, two of them within the last couple of weeks. Having taken so long to secure a resolution to this matter, I am fully supportive of the Council’s actions in expediting completion of the work to ensure that the property is properly secured, and wind and water-tight.”
Landscaping has already been carried out by the council and a contractor has been selected to do the repairs.
The costs will be recovered from the owner in accordance with the relevant Acts.
Adjoining neighbours, John and Vicki Morgan have stayed with their family next to the empty building for around six years.
John said that he is delighted to see work begin on the property.
“After many years, it’s good to see this long-neglected house finally receiving some much-needed attention.
“The house has lain empty for over 40 years following an inheritance dispute.”
John’s wife, Vicki added: “Ideally we would like to see someone live in the property and enjoy it.
“It’s a shame it’s just been left to rot.
“Councillor Merson has been extremely helpful and worked incredibly hard.”
A spokesperson for Aberdeenshire Council said: “We can confirm that Aberdeenshire Council has started work on 2 Union Street to bring the property up to an acceptable standard of repair. Prior to this work being undertaken, people serving community payback orders helped in clearing the garden so officers could get access to the property.”