A SOLUTION to the lamented eyesore of derelict properties has been suggested by Portarlington’s Cllr Paul Mitchell.
Having worked himself on restoring the facade of Arlington House in the town, he suggested repeating their successful formula on other properties at last week’s Emo area meeting.
“Arlington was a complete eyesore, and for €2,000, with voluntary help, it looks like a house that’s lived in now. People are actually stopping to photograph it. The same with the athletics club. I suggest collecting money off the owner, and giving it to the Tidy Towns committee to paint it. If it looked nice, and matched in with the town, it wouldn’t look like a derelict building,” he said.
Other cllrs were less complimentary of the Arlington project. Cllr Ray Cribbin said it was “only a camoflage job” while Cllr Tom Mulhall compared it to “washing your face, but not your hands or behind your ears”.
“A lot of work was done by Laois County Council before the Dirty Old Towns project started. They took action on Corrig Glen and hired a contractor and did a proper entrance. I wouldn’t like to see one crowd get all the credit,” said Cllr Mulhall.
Cllr Mitchell defended the Dirty Old Towns programme.
“It’s probably one of the best things to happen to Port. I worked on Arlington house, to say it’s camoflage... the Heritage council came down and described how to do the lime mortar. The two gable ends are set up for the next fifty years. That work is conservation work. Someone will put a roof on it eventually. There were ten projects done, they shouldn’t be brushed aside, it was massive work,” he said.
He asked Kieran Kehoe, Senior Executive Officer in the council’s planning section, if Arlington could not now be taken off the derelict list.
“It’s not an eyesore anymore. It might encourage others who own buildings to get involved with Tidy Towns, and get buildings facelifted,” Cllr Mitchell suggested.
Mr Kehoe explained that fines had built up on the building, which needed to be paid before it could be removed from the list.
“There would be every credit given, the money the owner donated for the facelift would probably be given as credit off the levies,” he said.