OFFENSIVE graffiti popped up at the site of the former St Peter’s School this week - appearing to be a dig at the land’s owners.

The Ardrossan South Beach location has been derelict for a number of years since the former school was destroyed after a series of fires.

This week, the wall which covers the site was targeted by vandals who wrote ‘Land bank c***s’ twice with paint across the former mural which was made by locals.

Local MSP Kenneth Gibson said that there is possible movement on the issue of land banking with consultation soon to be launched which could see land selling for a fraction of the price if it was empty for three years.

Kevin Stewart MSP, SNP Government Housing Minister, is urging greater use of the existing compulsory purchase powers, but is to go further by bringing in new “sale orders” that would make property available to third parties.

Kenneth Gibson commented: “New laws that would allow councils to put private land and property up for auction if it is not being used by the owner may be introduced in Scotland.

“The SNP Government will launch a consultation that could involve the use of compulsory sale orders to reduce “land-banking” and free up sites for new homes, economic and community developments.

“Property experts said the orders would mean plots potentially selling at a fraction of their market value if they had not been used for three years.

“It is deeply frustrating when sites that could be used productively are often bought and held for purely speculative reasons, often leaving communities with derelict eyesores in their midst, with owners hoping time will help them sell at a profit. The SNP Government is looking to end such practices.”

The graffiti has since been removed by owners McLaughlin Construction who said that they were now looking at future plans for the site.

A representative of McLaughlin Construction said: “It is disappointing graffiti such as this has appeared and that it will be removed ASAP.

“We are a local SME employing around 40 local people who provide apprenticeships, support local organisations and wider community benefits.”

He added: “This site is part of our future development plans and technical details are presently being looked at.”