A COUNCILLOR has poured cold water on new £75,000 grants aimed at persuading business owners demolish empty properties.

The local authority has put cash on the table for businesses on the former Port Glasgow Industrial Estate as it wants to see the area cleared of potentially dangerous derelict buildings.

But Councillor Drew McKenzie says the figure is a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of sending in the bulldozers and can't see the idea taking off.

He told the Telegraph that the owner of the former Playtex building has been told it will cost half a million pounds to knock it down.

Councillor McKenzie said: "The owner of the Playtex factory is keeping it wind and watertight and he was happy to take his factory down.

"But he's been told it will cost £500,000 to get it demolished - and £75,000 is not really an incentive to do it."

Council bosses offered the grants to companies because the buildings are being persistently targeted by vandals but Mr McKenzie fears there is little prospect of the buildings being flattened.

The area is earmarked for housing within the local plan, but the independent councillor feels it is unlikely that residential developers would build on the industrial site.

He said: "ABS Apparel have moved into the site in the former Playtex distribution building and there is a gymnastics studio where North Face used to be and dog facility type business as well."

Inverclyde Council says it recognises the cost of demolitions and that the cash offer is an incentive which aims to kickstart clearances rather than pay for them.

A spokesman said: “A number of the properties on the Port Glasgow Industrial Estate are derelict and are being targeted by vandals.

"They are also difficult to secure.

"While the industrial estate is privately owned, the council has consistently been trying to work with the owners to improve its appearance and its ability to attract new businesses to Inverclyde.

"The estate is home to a number of key employers but creating new jobs is vital to tackling poverty in the area.

“We accept that this scheme will not cover the full demolition costs involved with some of these properties.

"It is intended as an incentive to get people to take responsibility for their own properties and to facilitate them getting management systems in place.”