A BUILDING in Largs has been allowed to become a dangerous fire hazard according to a man calling for it to be flattened.

John McCracken claims the derelict property in Gallowgate Lane has been allowed to deteriorate into a dilapidated eyesore after plans to turn it into a boutique hotel then a takeaway fell through.

John, who lives nearby, says the area has become a health hazard - as well as a fire risk - and called for urgent action to be taken.

He said: "I can't understand why nothing has been done about it. We have the beautiful new Gallowgate Square yet this unsightly mess right next to it. "It if was even cleared it could provide extra car parking for the holiday letting accommodation next door or become a bin storage area.

"The owner of the property has changed his planning application twice - initially it was a takeaway and now it is going to be a boutique hotel, but nothing has happened there for years.

"He is leading the council a merry dance.

"I am surprised that environmental health aren't involved as it is full of old rubbish - if someone comes along and sets it alight it would go up in no time." The matter was also given an airing at a recent Largs Community Council meeting.

John added: "The roof was taken off it around 15 years ago, and it has lay derelict ever since.

"Even if something more aesthetically pleasing could be done to stop it being such an eyesore, it would be a step forward."

Cllr Ian Murdoch said that a compulsory purchase order was unlikely because of the value of the land. Councillor Alan Hill said that a canvas screen, as has happened in other places in North Ayrshire, could offer a solution.

Cllr Hill added that there may be funding streams available to have the facade cleaned out and a small garden area put in its place, similar to what has happened to derelict properties in West Kilbride's high street.

Community council chairman Anne Carson said: "The owner John Corrigan, being a businessman, must be able to appreciate the problem.

"The community council and others would be happy to work towards a more positive outlook at the site with the owner."

In response Mr Corrigan said: "There is no rubbish that we know of at the site - it was left as rubble.

"Maybe it is time to tidy it up a little bit but we were waiting to see how the holiday lets were going before making a decision on works for the boutique hotel.

"It is a bit of an eyesore, but the council won't relax their council tax rules for derelict buildings and hence why the roof had to come off.

"The council should be looking at relaxing their rules on this as there are more empty premises than there ever was.

"Having a canvas layout at the site could be an option we could look at.

"It is a historical site and one of the conditions prior to works on the boutique hotel is that Historic Scotland want to carry out an excavation due to the significance of its historic location at the old gallows."

Photos: John Keachie