Residents petition County Hall

A PETITION signed by 151 residents has been presented to Laois County Council from Cllr Alan Hand, calling on the council to prioritise cleaning up and securing derelict sites at Cois na hAbhainn, Bruach na hAbhainn and Mill Court in Portlaoise.

A PETITION signed by 151 residents has been presented to Laois County Council from Cllr Alan Hand, calling on the council to prioritise cleaning up and securing derelict sites at Cois na hAbhainn, Bruach na hAbhainn and Mill Court in Portlaoise.

Cllr Hand said there are two sites which straddle Bruach na hAbhainn and Mill Court, where missing manhole covers, discarded building materials and illegal dumping are all causing problems. A post and rail fence have been removed, leaving no proper boundary, and children can access the sites.

“Households are badly let down,” he said, declaring that the 151 people on the petition are calling for action to be taken.

“(The sites) are absolutely atrocious, I wouldn’t want children within 100 yards of it,” he said.

Cllr Caroline Dwane said these were lovely little areas which were blighted by the eyesore of derelict sites. She said there were youths hanging around causing anti-social behaviour, and horses were even being kept nearby.

“It’s No Man’s Land at the minute,” she said.

In a response from the planning department, it was revealed that Laois County Council has served four notices on the site owners under the Derelict Sites Act. As a result of the owners’ failure to remedy the situation, the council charged a levy on the owners of the property in the sum of €4,500.

This levy has not been paid, and the council are now considering using the courts to seek the recovery of the money.

A commitment was given to establish who the owners of the sites are before the next town council meeting.