CLUNE Park landlords are preparing to take Inverclyde Council to Scotland's highest civil court as a wrangle over the value of the rundown Port Glasgow housing scheme intensifies.

A move to raise a case at the Court of Session in Edinburgh is said to be 'more likely than ever' today with the local authority apparently set on acquiring properties by way of compulsory purchase.

Council leader Stephen McCabe unveiled a fresh plan this week to build up to 120 new homes at Clune Park in a two-phase development of the eyesore site.

But the local authority still needs to acquire around half of the flats there in order to fully realise its intentions for what is now considered to be a prime development plot.

It is understood that two owners of major property portfolios at Clune Park want the Lands Tribunal For Scotland to independently decide on the value of the flats that the local authority needs.

Sources close to the landlords told the Telegraph that if the council resists this, then they will seek a judicial decision on the matter at the Court of Session.

One source said: "Mr McCabe has given the whole gameplan away in admitting that the site is still a valuable one.

"This won't help the council in negotiations to buy up the rest of the estate, in fact it makes it harder.

"All that Councillor McCabe has done is increase the value of the site.

"It is considered that he has scored a spectacular own goal."

The council announced an initial £2.6m plan in 2011 to raze Clune Park to the ground and regenerate the site.

It later lost a court case, with a sheriff declaring that its bid to bulldoze the estates was based on 'flawed', 'inadequate' and 'tainted' assumptions.

Lawman Derek Hamilton described the evidence of a council appointed property expert as 'unscientific, speculative and selective'.

The Telegraph subsequently revealed that council chiefs spent nearly £920,000 on litigation and other expenses, including £300,000 under the heading of 'external legal and court fees' regarding Clune Park.

Scottish Government guidelines on compulsory purchase state that the process 'can be highly complex, involving legislation and case law'.

However, it is stipulated that property owners cannot object to compulsory purchase solely on grounds of believing that insufficient compensation has been offered.

The Lands Tribunal has statutory power to deal with various types of dispute involving land or property.

Another source close to the landlords said: "The council has been written to this week with regard to having the dispute settled by the Lands Tribunal.

"If the council refuses this route then a judicial decision will be sought at the Court of Session.

"A reasonable offer was made to the council regarding properties six months ago, and the council has not provided a response to that.

"However, Councillor McCabe's comments suggest that a decision [for compulsory purchase] has already been made without the landlords being notified directly of it."

Councillor McCabe told the Telegraph earlier this week: "There are still a couple of large landlords and there have been ongoing discussions with one of them which haven't come to a successful conclusion.

"Undoubtedly we will need to go down the compulsory purchase route, we're preparing for that.

"The council has given authority to officers to start that process."

Clune Park is on the agenda for a meeting of the council's environment and regeneration committee today.