A DERELICT property that has blighted a community for 15 years could become the first to be rescued under a new council scheme.

Pendle Council is looking to give empty and rundown properties a new lease of life by buying them under a compulsory purchase scheme and finding investors to refurbish them.

A house at 53 Derby Street, Colne, could be the first under the scheme. It has been empty for 15 years and the subject of a number of complaints from neighbours. Members of the Colne and District Committee have now agreed the executive should arrange for a compulsory purchase order on the house. The executive are to hold talks with St Vincent Housing Association and Heritage Trust for the North West with a view to buying the house and refurbishing it.

Coun Alan Davies said the Colne area committee had lost patience with the Derby Street property.

He said: "Fifteen years in this state is absolutely deplorable. It's just a shame"

Coun Mohammed Iqbal said: "There are going to be properties in every ward that ideally need compulsory purchasing but we need a list so that we can move forward with the most urgent ones."

Members also decided that area committees should be asked to identify and review other empty houses in their areas and rate them high or low risk.

The list they prepare of the worst houses will then be passed on to working group made up of members and officers. The plans will be discussed tomorrow.