A FRESH bid is being made to end an eight year stand off and finally tear down a rundown estate bringing shame on Inverclyde.

Independent councillor and Port Glasgow businessman Drew McKenzie has stepped in to offer to try to break the deadlock with private landlords in Clune Park.

The once thriving area is now a ghost town with rows and rows of empty tenements, broken windows, burned out flats, shut up shops, a boarded up church, old school and deserted streets.

But Councillor McKenzie warns that all of this is in full view of visitors when they first arrive in Inverclyde

He is now offering to act as an intermediary in a bid to bring the council and private landlords together and find a solution to the saga.

Cllr McKenzie said: "The Clune Park and Robert Street area is nothing short of an embarrassment for Port Glasgow and for Inverclyde.

"It is one of the most rundown areas in the country.

"We are trying to get people to come and live in Inverclyde while the first thing they see is Clune Park.

"This once good area has fallen into severe dereliction and it's the first thing that people see when arriving in Inverclyde by train.

"As it is this area is dangerous.

"Only a handful of people still live here and walking through it at night is intimidating.

"Fires are becoming a serious issue, derelict flats are being set alight with increasing regularity.

"Firefighters are being put at real risk.

"There really is a sense of urgency about getting something done."

Inverclyde Council had drawn up a master plan for the area, which was passed eight years ago, to flatten the tenements and build new social housing.

But since then they have been unable to secure agreement with private landlords.

The Clune Park saga has even ended up in court in a bid to push demolitions through.

But the local authority lost the case and since then there has been a stalemate.

Councillor McKenzie is now offering to open up talks and act as a broker to find a deal.

Drew added: "If it was up to me I would bring in the bulldozers and negotiate later.

"But the council must abide by the proper legal process.

"These these conversations really must start now.

"This has all went on for far too long - a totally unacceptable length of time.

"I would be happy to act as an intermediary.

"There are still a small number of people residing in the area as tenants of private landlords.

"These landlords are deriving an income from their rental and I understand that some feel that their properties are worth more than the council is offering.

"That maybe be so but there must be a dialogue with the council."

In recent years millions has been spent regenerating Inverclyde's waterfront and Port Glasgow is now a thriving retail centre.

Councillor McKenzie, who is the chair of the Port Glasgow Regeneration Forum, added: "We are working hard to make Port Glasgow a great place to live and work and the improvement in recent years are there for all to see.

"But Clune Park is a blight on the landscape and must be addressed now."