Two Carnoustie councillors are at loggerheads over the future of the burned out shops on Carnoustie High Street.
On Tuesday Angus Council’s communities committee agreed to purchase 18 High Street for the sum of £25,000 just over a year after it was gutted in a dramatic blaze.
However, the decision over what will become of the premises has been deferred to the full council meeting on February 13.
On Facebook Independent councillor Bill Bowles advocated the site remained for business and also suggested the site be a mix of business units and affordable housing, something an interested developer is currently looking at.
He said: “I think that as we are emerging from six years of global recession we need opportunities for entrepreneurs to move into High Street outlets. So we need to retain these units. We have at the moment 112 businesses or thereabouts in the town on the main thoroughfare and only six vacant units, that’s less than six per cent, that’s actually better than the national average.
He continued: “We need housing, I totally accept we need to build more affordable housing to rent and buy but we need to be careful where we put them or what we will end up with is a High Street with no shops.”
However, according to Independent councillor Brian Boyd realpolitik allows for only one course of action.
He said: “As a councillor I have to get the balance of affordable housing versus shops. What am I supposed to do? Make people homeless to sit with an empty shop? Of course I would love to have a vibrant High Street but I’m a realist.
“On our High Street we’ve got lots of single window shops doing well but it’s the larger ones, we know who they are, that are not doing so well. All I think we need to do is reduce the size of the High Street ever so slightly and this property was right on the periphery.”
He concluded: “Throughout Angus the council do not have a policy to get involved in shops, building them or renting them out. Angus Council has invested £500,000 in supplying affordable accommodation along our High Street: that’s regeneration.”