A COUNCIL'S long-running battle with private property owners who let their buildings go to ruin is entering a new phase.

Renfrewshire Council has formed a Building Repairs Task Group that will co-ordinate measures to support, and, where appropriate, enforce repairs and improvements for commercial and private properties.

It will see staff from the planning, building standards, economic development, environmental and property services departments work together to make landlords clean up their act.

Property owners will have access to advice and information on maintaining their buildings while the council will have a more co-ordinated approach.

If owners do not maintain their properties effectively, or allow them to become derelict, the group will look at the legal powers available for enforcement action.

While most of the group's work will relate to properties in the town centre and west end of Paisley, it will also consider 42 properties across Renfrewshire on the Buildings At Risk register compiled by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Councillor Terry Kelly, convener of the council's planning and property board, said: "A total of 90% of the buildings in Paisley town centre are privately owned.

"There has been a tremendous amount done to restore and maintain the town's outstanding architectural heritage of public buildings and, wherever possible, the council will continue to invest in these assets.

"That work will be strengthened by a forthcoming town centre asset strategy that will identify projects that continue the regeneration of the area and sustain the area's built heritage.

"It is vital for the environment and economy of the town centre there is a similar commitment from the private sector.

"We appreciate these are tough times but owners of property must accept their responsibilities.

"We believe we are putting in place practical and proportionate measures to deliver improvements in the appearance and condition of Paisley's commercial and residential properties.

"This new approach will strengthen the council's ability to help deliver those goals."

ewan.fergus@ eveningtimes.co.uk