Problems remain in ghost estates

Barely a week after National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) bosses sent bulldozers into troubled Longford town estate Gleann Riada, homeowners have this week raised concerns at health and safety standards in some of the county’s 95 other unfinished developments.

Barely a week after National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) bosses sent bulldozers into troubled Longford town estate Gleann Riada, homeowners have this week raised concerns at health and safety standards in some of the county’s 95 other unfinished developments.

Veronica Roach, you get the impression, is one of the lucky few to have escaped from the Celtic Tiger boom largely unscathed.

A north Longford native herself, she is just one of three residents currently living on the half deserted Sli Corglass housing estate, near Moyne.

Unlike so many of her peers, Veronica does not have the worry of a mortgage but still faces the daily anguish of starting outside her front window at empty houses and knee-high grass.

“You just get on with it,” she said almost ruefully when the Leader knocked on her door last Thursday morning.

Built at the height of the boom, the development was one 18 unfinished estates to benefit from €400,000 in State sponsored funding last year.

Council chiefs were allocated €36,100 to meet public safety concerns, much of which was spent fencing off the site’s lower parcel of houses which remain deserted.

Yet, despite the outlay Veronica still harbours grave doubts about the future.

“You still have people coming in,” she revealed, making reference to the estate’s lack of public lighting. “It’s got to the stage where you are watching every car that passes.”

The only respite she has is the closeness of her parents house which lies a few hundred yards away. It is, as she confided however, only the briefest of interludes.

“When you go up there (parents house) and look down, it’s an utter eye-saw. I would like to see it kept and maintained. Even if they were to knock some of the houses let it be.”

Veronica’s story is not an isolated one. Situated just off the main Longford to Drumlish road, MacArt Meadows, Leitrim Cross came with a lofty reputation at the time of its initial construction.

As disclosed by this newspaper, the site once retained planning permission for a restaurant and bar as well as 12 houses. Ten houses were built, two have since been occupied with a further two constructed to slab level.

However, when the Leader called to the estate earlier this week it quickly became apparant there was only one resident in situe.

Jeff Hogan moved into his home four years ago and while he accepts the estate could do with a face-lift, it’s not all doom and gloom.

“ It is nice and quiet,” he insisted as he looked out from his front doorstep. “The houses are fine, it’s just the estate itself, but it would be nice to have people around for security.”

It’s an aspiration nonetheless, you get the impression, that could take some time to materialise.