SHOP owners in Neilston have pulled out of a deal which would have seen the council take over a private car park.

In March last year, councillors approved acquiring land to the front and rear of 48 to 58 Main Street.

They hoped the purchase could lead to “wider regeneration” of the village, including a “high quality” civic area and 14-space public car park.

Council officers had reported the owners had agreed “in principle” to the deal, but they have now revealed, following a “collective reconsideration”, they “no longer wished to sell these areas”.

A report by environment director Andy Cahill adds: “The shop owners’ collective rejection of the council’s proposal to purchase for public use part of the land previously sold to the shop keepers, while frustrating the council’s ambition to take on responsibility for these areas, avoids the financial burden arising from the upkeep.”

The land was originally leased by Renfrew District Council to six shop keepers, who built the private car park for customer use in 1981.

However, a previous council report stated there had been “continuous disputes” over rent reviews and difficulty agreeing a maintenance arrangement.

A sale to the owners was agreed with East Renfrewshire Council in January 2016 but failed to “resolve the issue of maintenance and upkeep”.

The council had hoped to take back the areas to “use for public parking and as a community events area” and saw “considerable advantages” in regaining ownership.

“This would clearly facilitate the wider regeneration/masterplanning of the village in the future, including the provision of high-quality civic space and public parking in Neilston village centre,” the previous report added.

Council leader Tony Buchanan said: “This was a report that was brought previously to cabinet where the shop keepers were looking at possibly disposing of the site back to the council.

“Following consultation and some ongoing work, they clearly have decided that they don’t want to proceed with that at the present time.”

Councillors accepted the shop keepers have decided to decline the offer.