Banks the biggest culprits on derelict sites, says local councillor

Ryan Dunne

Reporter:

Ryan Dunne

Email:

ryan@leinsterexpress.ie

A fire in Hepburn Court, the estate is now derelict

A fire in Hepburn Court. The estate is now derelict

Laois County Council will be expanding its property section with a new full-time staff member, which will enable the council to better address the problem of derelict sites in the county.

The news came at the recent meeting of the Portlaoise Municipal District. Cllr Jerry Lodge proposed a motion calling on the council to establish a specific property unit which will ensure that all the council’s properties/lands are properly registered and also maintain a record of derelict sites with appropriate follow up.

Kieran Kehoe, director of services, said that Laois County Council has a dedicated property section which has details of all Laois County Council property. The planning section has a dedicated derelict sites team.

He said that there is one full-time staff member in the property section and another full-time technician is due to start.

Welcoming the news, Cllr Lodge said he wanted the resources to ensure that when there is a derelict site the council identifies the owner. He said he thought there are lands the council bought over the years that may not be totally registered to the council.

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley said that derelict sites are a massive issue for both Portlaoise and County Laois.

Referring to a burnt out house in Esker Hills which had been vacant for nine years, Cllr Dwane Stanley said that local communities are left to deal with these sites.

“Banks are the biggest culprits, in some cases they don’t register ownership,” said Cllr Dwane Stanley. “We need to stay on the backs of these people who own these properties.”