A PRIVATE car park in the centre of Neilston could be taken over by East Renfrewshire Council as part of plans to address long-running challenges.

Councillors are recommended to back the transfer of ownership of land behind the shops in Main Street so the authority can use it as a 14-space public car park.

They are also asked to support a transfer of land at the front of the shops, which would be used as a public space.

Both acquisitions would have no cost.

The land was previously leased to six shopkeepers, who built the car park for customer use, for 99 years in 1981.

But a report states that, as time progressed, “it became apparent that the arrangement posed challenges for both parties.”

These included “continuous disputes” over rent reviews, difficulty agreeing a maintenance arrangement for the car park and its increasing use by people not visiting the shops.

In 2013, councillors agreed to dispose of the lease and a £50,000 sale to the shopkeepers was agreed in January 2016.

Now the council sees “considerable advantages” in taking ownership of the land as this would provide “high-quality civic space and public parking in Neilston village centre.”

The report states: “Importantly, this area could form a strategic access point into the St Thomas’s school site when it is vacated.”

Ownership of the shops, and the land they’re on, would remain with the shopkeepers.

The car park would be upgraded with resurfacing, a footway linking to Broadlie Court, renewal of existing street lighting and provision of road markings.

It is estimated to cost around £40,000 but, as upgrading would also include the loading bays for the shops, the owners would pay 25 per cent of the costs.

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