01 Dec 2021

Burnt out Portlaoise house considered for council purchase after 11 years of dereliction

Burnt out Portlaoise house considered for council purchase after 11 years of dereliction

A vacant, burnt out and derelict house that was once destined to be a family home is finally being assessed by Laois County Council with the possibility of being taken in charge.

Director of Services at Laois County Council, Mr Michael Rainey, has said the Vacant Homes Officer is assessing the house at 70 Laurel Drive, Esker Hill, Portlaoise and they are considering it for a CPO.

Certain statutory bodies like the council can take land or property without the consent of the owner by means of a compulsory purchase order (CPO).

In July 2017 the house was burnt out in a suspected arson attack. Residents in Esker Hills expressed anger at the time that their repeated concerns over anti-social behaviour, rats and danger at the house were being ignored.

Vacant Homes Officer, Mr Gerry Ryan, said a basic visual assessment of the exterior of the property has been carried out to show the property is vacant and derelict, has been subject to significant fire damage and remains subject to further dereliction. 

He said the priority is to get the property back in use as a house to help with the social housing need in the county. 

"A recommendation to acquire the property will be made to the Director of Services and if that is approved, the Council will try to engage with the property owners with a view to acquiring the property or providing support to the owners in returning the property to use for housing purposes. If that is not possible, the CPO process may be initiated by order of the Chief Executive," he said. 

Cllr Caroline Dwane Stanely tabled a notice of motion at the Portlaoise Municipal District meeting last Wednesday asking for an update on the house.

Ms Angela McEvoy in the council’s planning section said the house is on the Derelict Sites Register and notices have been issued to the owners and posted on the site but no response has been received. She said the planning section referred the house to the Vacant Homes Officer for assessment.

Cllr Dwane Stanley said this would make a ‘fine family home’.

“We are all familiar with the house on Laurel Drive, it was burnt back some years ago and it is lying idle for years. I think it was a four bed it was fine house, it’s not so fine now but residents in the area have continuously raised this issue.

“I would have written to the local branch of the bank in question I got a contact in the area and they were constantly dealing with their head office and they just weren't getting anywhere with it. I welcome that they are going to process it and maybe progress it to the point that it could be CPO because it could make a fine home for some family,” she said.

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