Laois County Council to use Compulsory Purchase Orders to buy up sites in Portlaoise, Portarlington, Mountrath, Borris-in-Ossory

The County Hotel in Portlaoise is one of many sites that Laois County Council is planning to buy to build homes

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

The County Hotel in Portlaoise is one of many sites that Laois County Council is planning to buy to build homes

The County Hotel in Portlaoise is one of many sites that Laois County Council is planning to buy to build homes

The old County Hotel in Portlaoise is one of many sites that Laois County Council is buying across Laois, using CPOs if necessary, to combat both the housing crisis and dereliction.

Council chief John Mulholland has spoken of their determination to use Compulsory Purchase Orders to forcibly buy vacant or derelict sites, and at the same time aim to provide more social housing.

“We will use them wherever we need to. For example the acquisition of the County Hotel could have been a CPO, but luckily we were able to do it by agreement,” he said.

Other cases besides that landmark Portlaoise Main Street hotel are “imminent”.

“There are a number of examples of that which could be imminent. We will not shy away from using them,” he said.

He was speaking at the September council meeting, where he announced the exchange of contracts for the County Hotel, for a figure that he will not disclose until the deal is done.

Among the other sites for which the council is preparing compulsory purchase orders, is a piece of wasteland beside O’Moore Place in Portlaoise, that has in the past been used for anti social behaviour and car rallying.

“We have prepared documents to proceed to CPO on that. We will be doing the same in Borris-in-Ossory, Mountrath and Portarlington,” Mr Mulholland said.

He has since declined to say where the sites are in those towns.

Mr Mulholland is aiming to solve three problems by buying up the sites - insufficient housing, declining urban centres, and dereliction.

He said the use of CPO’s is aimed at “preventing further urban and rural decline”.

Mr Mulholland said however that the council is also happy to “discuss the purchase of properties, at reasonable sums”.

“We are also looking on a weekly basis for opportunities to purchase houses,” he said.