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30 Nov 2021

Laois councillor has 'bee in bonnet' over Rathdowney dereliction

Demand on council to respond

Laois councillor has 'bee in bonnet' over Rathdowney dereliction

An empty property in Rathdowney

A survey of vacant properties in Rathdowney should be undertaken by Laois County Council which should also put pressure on the owners of such property, the Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District meeting has heard.

Cllr John King, Fine Gael, tabled a motion calling on the Council to carry out a survey on all vacant properties in the town that have broken windows half patched up and are also in need of a serious facelift, and to contact the owners to repair and paint them and make them safe.

In her reply, Angela McEvoy, A/DOS said that a meeting would be arranged with Cllr King to consider the sites in question and the appropriate actions to be taken. She said the measured could include the implementation of the Derelict Sites legislation, a facade enhancement scheme or consideration by the Vacant Homes office for Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) for reuse as housing.

Cllr King said he had a "bee in his bonnet" regarding this issue. He said the owners of the properties were not living in the town or the county. They had been approached.

He said one property had windows broken, while in another property a window had fallen onto the street. He said he was asking the Council to contact the owners and put pressure on them.

''The funding is there under the Street Enhancement Scheme for them to apply for. We are providing funding and they won't do it,'' he stated.

He asked the Council to either CPO the properties or heavily fine the owners.

Cllr James Kelly, Independent, noted that local authorities were not that active on CPOs.

Cllr Paddy Bracken, Fianna Fáil, said it was a problem all over the county. He said the CPO process was slow.

He said that under the National Development Plan, local authorities had the power to assign someone to these sites. They were a blight on our towns, he noted.

Cllr King clarified that the Scheme was accepting new applications now.

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