Council to ‘partially demolish’ estates

The Sli Corglass ghost estate. Photo: Joe McDonagh
Local authority housing chiefs could save taxpayers thousands by levelling some of Longford’s worst affected ghost estates.

Local authority housing chiefs could save taxpayers thousands by levelling some of Longford’s worst affected ghost estates.

Head of Longford County Council’s unfinished estates unit, Terry Rooney explained to councillors how he thought public monies would be ringfenced to deal with the issue.

“My understanding is, that when money is allocated, it will be used to demolish estates where there was no bond in place,” he said.

Mr Rooney’s comments were made at Longford County Council’s recently held monthly meeting as elected members debated the problems linked to unfinished estates across the county.

Councillors were told that instead of fencing off vacant units, two estates, Slí Corglass in Moyne and Battery Court in Longford, may have to be “partially demolished”.

In certain estates that are privately owned, like the formerly mentioned Slí Corglass, further negotiations would have to take place, he said.

“We as a local authority have to come up with what is known as a Site Resolution Plan. Therefore, if, the owners for example, are the banks and they decide that it is going to be cheaper to knock a property, the demolition will take place.”

Around 60 people attended a public meeting in Dromard two weeks ago to air their views over Slí Corglass, a 19-house development which presently has just three properties occupied.

Secretary of Dromard Rural Development, Peter Masterson said the talks had been productive especially as Mr Rooney was present.

He did however highlight the difficulties associated with developments still to be taken in charge by local authorities.

“The thing is it (Slí Corglass) is privately owned,” he said.

“We can’t just go in and inspect the quality or lack of a property’s quality.

“At least before anything happens, it seems the public will be consulted which can only help in moving the process forward.”

Separately, the Government has decided to abolish 40 ghost estates across the country starting from early 2014. It is not yet known which estates will be demolished.