FAMILIES who have paid deposits to buy homes in a luxury development have been left stranded after building delays left them unable to move into their dream properties.

The Silvertrees development in the affluent South Lanarkshire town of Bothwell was scheduled for completion in October last year, according to a group of would-be residents.

They have paid thousands of pounds to secure flats and penthouses costing from £206,000 to more than £465,000, but they say they have been left effectively homeless as the complex is still a building site.

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The group has also complained it has been met with silence from developers about when the new homes will be finished.

The Silvertrees Wynd Residents Group said 32 of the 60 two to four-bedroom apartments have been sold, but many buyers have had to stay in hotels or with family members after selling their previous homes in anticipation of moving in, before being told at short notice of delays to work being finished.

Group member Caroline Adams said that moving-in dates of February and April had been missed and there is scepticism that the latest target of a June 6 handover will be met, with the project appearing to be months from completion.

She also accused William ­Paterson, the businessman behind the project, of refusing to engage with affected buyers or explain what had caused the setbacks.

Ms Adams, 56, paid a £5000 deposit for her new home. She said: "We've written, emailed, sent legal letters, and he never replies.

"We had a meeting this week and as predicted, Mr Paterson didn't turn up or send any representative. We're still in the same position we were in February.

"People from all over Scotland and as far away as Italy have bought these homes. There are nine from Bothwell alone.

"One buyer is in a hotel which costs £1750 a month and others are in rented accommodation after selling their own houses. I've been homeless since November. I was with my sister until February and now I'm staying all over the place.

"My husband died a few years ago and my son had moved out so my old home was too big and the flats were a dream come true. My apartment overlooks the Clyde. But it's turned into a nightmare."

It is understood a one-off payment of £800 has been offered to some buyers waiting to move in, but Ms Adams said the cost of the delays would be far higher, with many having to pay for storage for their belongings while they stay in temporary accommodation.

The residents group wants £5000 per buyer. When The Herald tried to contact Mr Paterson, an employee at his firm, Patersons Quarries Ltd, said he did not wish to comment. There is no mention of a completion date on the website advertising the development.

The three-acre site, which was sold in 2011 after being put up for sale for £2.5m, was once home to the Silvertrees Hotel wedding venue. It will offer "the ultimate in village/rural living" according to marketing material aimed at young professionals or those downsizing.

In August 2012, it was claimed that half of the first phase of Silvertrees had been reserved.