COUNCIL chiefs are hopeful of agreeing a deal to buy flats from one of the main landlords on the crumbling Clune Park eyesore estate.

Officials believe they are close to making progress towards acquiring more of the estate's run-down properties, from one of the owners with a large portfolio there.

News of the potential breakthrough - which comes over a decade after the local authority outlined its aim to flatten the tenements for regeneration - emerged at a council committee meeting.

Negotiations are ongoing between the council's district valuer and the larger portfolio landlords, and officials say there may be an opportunity to progress matters with at least one of them.

Councillors gave their approval for them to continue talks and acquisitions until February 7.

It comes as new pictures published on the internet show the state of remaining blocks, which have over 400 properties, plus the old derelict church and primary school.

The poor condition of the properties has been highlighted by urban exploration group Urbandoned, who entered the estate and photographed the eerie scenes inside.

Greenock Telegraph: Clune Park Image Credit: Urbandoned

Broken glass, crumbling stonework and overgrown plantlife are now the most distinctive features of what was once a thriving residential area.

The estate was constructed between 1918 and 1920 to provide housing for the shipbuilding workforce, with the school and church being added in 1887 and 1905 respectively.

As shipbuilding declined in Inverclyde, people chose to leave the site to seek work elsewhere.

Greenock Telegraph: Clune Park Image Credit: Urbandoned

By the mid 1970s, the estate's owners, Lithgows, disposed of the flats in varying portfolios to several investment companies.

Further disposals caused the ownership of the estate to become split amongst a large number of individuals, and then latterly several private sector landlords with varying sizes of portfolio.

The buildings began to fall into a state of disrepair as Clune Park became blighted by anti-social behaviour and the population shrank.

Vandals and copper thieves ransacked several of the empty buildings and the estate has been at the heart of a protracted legal dispute.

Greenock Telegraph: Clune Park Image Credit: Urbandoned

The council lost a case in 2016 over 41 demolition orders it had served on 405 properties at the estate in June 2014.

In June of last year, it was defeated again in a landmark legal battle over its decision to charge landlords a levy for unoccupied flats.

Members of the environment and regeneration committee will receive an update at a further meeting scheduled to be held in March.