The SNP administration at North Ayrshire Council have confirmed that officers have been in contact with landowners over the purchase of a derelict Stevenston site.

Though it is believed that this contact that was made by council officers under the previous Labour adminstration - not since the SNP took over.

The SNP group was questioned over their plans for the former site of the Lonsdale Bar by Stevenston councillor John Sweeney.

The Labour councillor was part of the administration which ran the authority until the local elections on May 5 and which had plans to buy the land on Townhead Street.

The Labour group brought the question to the council at a meeting on Wednesday, June 22, after the site had appeared for sale online for £70,000.

Councillor John Sweeney said: “The Lonsdale site has been a blight on Stevenston for years and action is needed to tackle the problem.

“When the SNP last ran the council, they put a bed sheet over the site’s fencing to hide the embarrassment of it during the Commonwealth Games baton relay. Under Labour, we tried to bring the site into council ownership.

“It is important that the council follows through with that ownership plan, taking control of the site and putting it back into productive use for our town.

"Once we do that, we can then turn our attention to other problem sites like the old Rankin’s pub building across the road.”

In the chamber, SNP councillor Tony Gurney said that "valuations have been obtained" for the site, and that "the council has been in contact with the land owner".

But no agreement has been reached to date.

In his follow up question, Cllr Sweeney argued: "Best value for the community cannot be measured in pounds and pence."

Cllr Gurney agreed with this sentiment, but said the question of acquiring the site was first brought up by Labour in 2015.

He added: "They had five years [in the administration] and still could not bring the site back into use. It shows the difficulties we have for this derelict area."