TWO blocks of council owned flats in Alloa, which have lain empty since the start of 2019, are to be demolished.

Blocks 12-26 and 28-38 at Engelen Drive, an area which was identified for regeneration, will be demolished at a cost of around £60,000 following approval by Clacks councillors on last week's Place Committee.

The site was identified for regeneration in 2018 and was due to be developed under the same contract as nearby Elm Grove, where 54 homes are due for completion in March 2022.

Council papers said: “However, abnormal costs on the site, including the relocation of a power substation, has taken this [Engelen Drive] project over benchmark costs.”

Documents explained costs have risen to at least £200,000 per unit with a funding gap of £47,000 each and amid rising construction prices.

The Engelen Drive project will progress with the demolition and elected members are to be provided with updated benchmark figures at a later date.

Papers tabled on the day added: “However, as above report details with increases in construction tender prices for a variety of reasons, it could be a feature going forward that most projects will need additional funding and or be subject to greater scrutiny by the Scottish Government.”

At the meeting, committee convener Cllr Craig Holden said he was “particularly pleased to hear about” the demolition progressing.

Clacks South representative Cllr Kenny Earle also welcomed the move and added: “It's an excellent report; we totally agree, and I support everything you said there about the blocks at Engelen Drive.

“You are probably like me, at surgeries people are always asking: 'What's happening with Engelen Drive' because [there] doesn't seem to be a lot of movement with the flats.

“Obviously, as we know, there's lots of things going on in the background the public don't see, however, […] it's good that movement has been taken on this.”

The demolition at Engelen Drive will be funded by £30,000 from affordable housing contributions and another £30,000 from second homes income council tax, which is ring-fenced for affordable housing.