North Lanarkshire Council bought over 100 residential properties during the last financial year.

An updated report going before the council’s housing and regeneration committee on May 19 records 106 properties were acquired under the Open Market Purchase Scheme (OMPS), with a further 17 already in the pipeline and at the conveyancing stage.

Of the properties purchased, Wishaw accounted for 20 of them, with Airdrie and Coatbridge accounting for 25 and 24 each respectively.

Don't miss a thing from your area - sign up for the new Lanarkshire newsletter!

From the latest breaking news to the agenda-setting stories, get it all in your email inbox.

Put your email at the top of this article or follow the instructions on this link!

There were 10 purchases in Shotts and the same number in Bellshill, while the council purchased a further five properties in Motherwell, Cumbernauld, and Kilsyth.

The two remaining properties purchased were in Moodiesburn and Viewpark.

In 2013 the council established their Empty Homes Purchase Scheme (EHPS) to buy empty homes, particularly those lying empty long term and falling into disrepair or blighting local communities.

Since then scheme has brought 244 empty properties back into use at an average cost of £65,000.

Demolition work is progressing at the site of three tower blocks in Holehills
Demolition work at the site of three tower blocks in Holehills, Airdrie

OMPS was brought in on February 15, 2018 and is an extension of the EHPS. It enables residential properties on sale on the open market to be bought by the council. They are predominately former local authority stock.

Of those homes purchased in the last financial year 47 are considered to be properties that would have been bought through EHPS, the other 59 were on the open market.

The council set a target for OMPS of purchasing 100 homes each year. It has proven to be popular with that target having been exceeded in the last three financial years.

Effectively both schemes have merged into one with the aim of increasing housing supply to meet need. In addition a percentage of purchases can also potentially enable progression of necessary common works in shared blocks.

The breakdown of homes purchased between April 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021 is, five four-bedroom; 37 three-bedroom; 48 two-bedroom; and 16 one-bedroom.

There were five owners of multi-storey flats in Motherwell whom the council were seeking to buy properties from, while allowing them to remain as council tenants if they wished.

Two of the flats have already been purchased and discussions are progressing with the others regarding the potential for the council to buy back their flats as soon as possible.

This will allow North Lanarkshire Council to progress with its Tower Strategy and demolition programme.

The committee will also be updated that the demolition programme is gathering momentum with 985 of all properties scheduled for demolition within phase 1 vacant or scheduled to become vacant.

The breakdown at April 2021 showed that 227 of those were at Coursington, Allen and Draffen towers in Motherwell, a further 210 were low-rise properties in Gowkthrapple; 56 were in Birkshaw and Allershaw Towers in Wishaw; 326 were within High Coats, Jackson and Dunbeth towers in Coatbridge; low-rise properties in Coatbridge account for another 122, and there are a further 44 vacant or scheduled to be at Burnside Court in the Kirkwood area of the town.