EAST Renfrewshire council are in talks to buy a disused factory — which could cost as much as £1.7 million.
In 2004, Nestlé Purina announced the closure of its pet food factory with the loss of 200 jobs as a consequence of changes in consumer preferences and technological development.
Ever since, the Barrhead facility, which was first run by Spillers, has been lying vacant.
A council spokesman said: “We are currently in discussions with the owner of the site. The Nestle factory has been disused for some time and has been subject to fly-tipping, vandalism and break-ins.
“It sits on an important economic development corridor into the town of Barrhead and has been left derelict with no clear vision for its future for some time.
“We have a number of options for the site over the medium to long term. We are currently considering the opportunities this site might offer to generate new regeneration and employment opportunities in the town”.
However, leader of the opposition, councillor Jim Swift criticised the potential purchase and its possible “wider implications”.
The councillor — who speculated that there is other interest in the site — told The Extra: “This site has lain vacant for far too long and now that someone arrives that may be able to use the site to provide employment this council is buying it.
“I can understand why the council is keen to see the site become part of a strategic landholding that will increase the value of the council-owned land that ajoins it.
“However, in doing so, the land will lie dormant for years more, while they develop plans for the larger site.
“The council spends a few quid now gains more later when it sells the lot, meanwhile the much needed jobs are to be put on the back-burner.
“The administration are acting like greedy capitalist land-speculators that will likely turn a few quid in a few years, but they forget that government in general is not good at creating jobs and councils in particular are terrible”.