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Negligent landlords of historic buildings should be stripped of ownership, a Labour MP says

Paul Sweeney made the comments after another listed building in Glasgow went up in flames

LANDLORDS who neglect historic buildings should be stripped of their ownership, Labour MP Paul Sweeney said today, after another listed site in Glasgow went up in flames.

Thick clouds of smoke were visible across the city on Sunday night as firefighters battled a blaze at the derelict Howden engineering works in Tradeston, which is B-listed as a site of local or regional importance.

On the same evening a fire broke out at Woodmill High School in Dunfermline.

This morning police arrested a 14-year-old boy in connection with the incident.

Mr Sweeney, who was outspoken about the need to protect historic buildings after last year’s Glasgow School of Art fire, told the Star today that the works, built in 1898, should have formed part of a “World Heritage Site for the steam age” at Tradeston.

“The fire speaks to the vulnerability of these buildings in Glasgow and we really need to have a coherent heritage plan for the city,” he said.

“We need to significantly increase the protection that listing of buildings offers, particularly the liability of the owners to ensure that listed buildings are properly secured.”

He said landlords “should be defaulted” if they cannot maintain such buildings, which should be “given to public ownership or transferred to different ownership.”

Howden’s manufactured boring machines used to construct the Channel Tunnel before closing the Tradeston site in 1988.

The fires followed another blaze at a retail park in Perth on Saturday.

Fire Brigades Union Scottish secretary Denise Christie said cuts to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service had affected the service.

“Firefighters are continually being asked to do more with less and something always gives,” she said.

“If we are to reverse this trend then we urgently require long-term financial investment in this vital public service.”

She said it was time for politicians to ditch platitudes and said: “Put your money where your mouth is and start reversing the years of decay.”


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