Cllr Jerry Lodge has called on Laois County Council to “claim squatters rights” to a derelict site at Woodgrove, Portlaoise, which he said posed a health hazard to the residents of the estate.
He said there was illegal dumping and vermin plaguing the site, which has no designated owner, and he asked the council to serve a compulsory purchase order on it in the interests of the Woodgrove community.
Cllr Lodge raised the motion at County Hall recently, during the last ever meeting of Portlaoise Town Council.
He received a reply from Reply from Angela McEvoy, planning department, that the site in Woodgrove is not on the derelict sites register and so cannot be CPOed under these provisions. Ms McEvoy went on to say that “notwithstanding this, financial resources do not allow (the county council) to CPO unregistered vacant sites at this time”.
“The council should claim squatters rights,” retorted Cllr Lodge. “It’s a health hazard, there’s vermin on the site due to dumping.”
Saying that the situation was very unsatisfactory, Cllr Lodge claimed there was “inertia” running right throughout the council on the issue, and Laois County Council should take control of the site right away.
“It’s a blot on our image, because we’re indifferent to it,” he said.
Cllr Caroline Dwane said that she had written to the bank that holds the mortgage on the site and asked them to do something with it, but the bank had replied that while they held the mortgage they do not own the site in question.
“We need to identify the owner,” stated Cllr Dwane.