Thursday, April 11, 2019

A DERELICT house that has been an eyesore for years in a Portlaoise housing estate could be purchased for people on the housing waiting list.

Laois County Council is considering using a compulsory purchase order (CPO) to buy the house at 70 Laurel Drive in Esker Hills, which was set on fire in an arson attack nearly two years ago.

The large property has been vacant for years and is owned by a bank, which has not replied to correspondence in relation to the house.

The case has been passed on to the county council’s vacant homes officer and a CPO is being considered, which would allow the council to buy and repair the property for use by a family on the social housing waiting list.

The news was given to cllr Caroline Dwane Stanley at a meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District when she asked for an update on the derelict house. She also asked for reinstatement of a toppled fence at the end of Laurel Drive, which was knocked down in a storm before last Christmas and for the restoration of signs on the estate’s two traffic islands.

Senior planner Angela McEvoy replied that the house in Esker Hills is on the Derelict Sites Register and the council’s planning section has referred it to vacant homes officer Gerry Ryan for assessment. Ms McEvoy said: “Notices have been issued to the owners and posted on the site, but no response has been received.”

Senior engineer Wes Wilkinson confirmed that the roads office would examine the signs and fence and carry out any repairs needed.

Director of services Michael Rainey told the meeting that the council is very interested in getting properties such as the Esker Hills house back into productive use, so a CPO is the next step that is under consideration.

Cllr Dwane Stanley recalled that she wrote to the local branch of the bank that owns the house, as frustrated residents were getting nowhere. The property has been lying idle for years and was burned out in July 2017.

The Sinn Féin councillor said: “It was a fine house but it’s not so fine now and residents have continually raised this issue. I welcome the fact that it could be CPOd because it would make a fine home for some family.”

Cllr Dwane Stanley added that the fence should be reinstated as soon as possible, as there is a drain full of water nearby that is dangerous in an area where children are playing. She asked for temporary fencing to be erected in the meantime, while the permanent fence is being repaired or replaced. She also asked for chicanes to be reviewed in the estate.

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By Carmel Hayes
Contact Newsdesk: +353 57 86 70216

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