COUNCIL chiefs have snapped up over 150 flats on a rundown Port Glasgow estate which they hope to bulldoze.

The Tele can reveal that a total of 165 properties in Clune Park have been purchased by the local authority and 'closing orders' have been slapped on another 90, meaning that no one can move into them.

There are 430 flats on the eyesore estate and Municipal Buildings bosses say six buildings are now subject to active demolition orders.

Details of the prices paid for the properties so far have been withheld.

News of the progress made behind the scenes comes just two weeks after the Tele revealed how a local councillor wanted to act as an intermediary between the council and private landlord owners in a bid to end the dispute over demolishing the estate.

The council says it is making ‘steady progress’ towards its goal of regenerating the rundown estate and won't let up until the clearance crews are sent in to raze it to the ground.

Councillor Michael McCormick, convener of the environment and regeneration committee, said: “In the council’s opinion all of the flats on the estate are below the tolerable standard – they don’t meet the basic requirements to be classed as fit for people to live in.

"And the results of several, recent, independent surveys have done nothing to change this view.”

Officials say that many of the flats are 'riddled with dry rot and their floors either won’t bear a person’s weight or have collapsed already'.

They add that many of the blocks have 'developed serious structural issues' which could lead to masonry falling from the buildings or cause partial or total collapse.

Only around 20 residents remain on the estate, with some buildings lying totally empty.

Clune Park was once a popular neighbourhood but it became blighted by crime and anti-social behaviour and the buildings have fallen into significant disrepair over a sustained period.

They are now increasingly being targeted by firestarters and vandals, with no fewer than 14 deliberate blazes being started in the past eight months. Holes have also been smashed in the walls between flats as criminals move through the buildings searching for metal to steal.

Councillor McCormick told the Telegraph: “The poor physical and social conditions in the area, combined with the level of input required from Police Scotland, Scottish Fire & Rescue and Inverclyde Council, clearly shows that the private housing market has failed and that large-scale, planned intervention is urgently needed.

“Six buildings now have active Demolition Orders against them.

"The council is working towards demolishing all the buildings and clearing the site to allow this neglected part of Port Glasgow to be regenerated.

“A decade ago it was estimated that it would cost £36.5million to refurbish these buildings.

"They have deteriorated even more since then."

The Tele understands that the council is currently holding negotiations with the remaining owners in a bid to finally bring the Clune Park saga to an end.

Cllr McCormick said: "We are making steady progress in terms of acquiring these undesirable properties.

"But the remaining owners need to recognise that the only future for these homes is demolition and, frankly, the sooner the better.”