THE Scottish Government have been asked to approve Fife Council’s bid to buy a “floating shape” of nothing in Dunfermline.

Last August, we told you how the local authority was pursuing a compulsory purchase order for an upper-floor flat in Campbell Street that doesn’t exist any more.

Councillors backed the move to correct an historical anomaly; the council will then own the whole site and can turn it over to a developer, and Scottish ministers have now been asked for their approval.

Council solicitor Alison Marr explained: “This is a former tenement block which was demolished in the 1970s under dangerous buildings legislation.

“At the time, the council would purchase the interests of each flat from the owners; however, under the legislation, these owners would have contributed to the cost of the demolition.

“I think what’s happened here is that one person hasn’t actually sold their flat to the council as they weren’t getting any money in return.

“So the tenement buildings were demolished and we now have a kind of floating shape in Campbell Street that we don’t own.

“It’s now the intention to sell the larger lot to the developer of the Pilmuir Works as they require car-parking and there’s not sufficient car-parking in their own development.”

If approved, they’ll buy the title for 65 (west) Campbell Street, an upper-floor flat that was owned by the late Mrs Margaret Svozil, who died in 1973.

The land has been open space and under council control, without challenge, since the four tenement blocks containing 11 flats were knocked down that same year.

Byzantian Developments Ltd are converting Pilmuir Works, the former Duracord factory, into flats and shops and aim to provide 61 car-parking spaces on Campbell Street.

A spokesman for the company said: "The purchase of the historic interest is an anomaly, however is part of the due process that Fife Council have to go through to purify the title of the land.

"It then enables our pre-agreed purchase of land from Fife Council to go through which will be used as additional car parking for the site.” 

A statement from the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government considers powers to purchase land compulsorily to be an important tool for local authorities and other public bodies to use to acquire land needed to enable projects that are in the public interest to proceed, where this would otherwise not be possible.

“In particular, ministers consider compulsory purchase powers to be important for helping to deliver housing, development and regeneration that create high-quality places where people want to live, work and invest.”