Satellite dishes on the front of houses in the town and residents hanging clothes over balconies in apartments are part of the ‘eye-sores’ that are bringing down the appearance of Longford town, one local councillor has claimed.
Cllr Peggy Nolan tabled a motion seeking the Town Council to enforce planning laws in relation to positioning of satellite dishes on the front of houses. She said the “eye-sores” should be removed, or positioned to the side or rear of houses.
“They’re not sending out the right signals and they’re ghettoising some areas,” she said, adding that it’s a planning law that the dishes should be erected out of sight. Cllr Nolan said a letter should be sent to all houses that are “flouting the law”.
In relation to the hanging of clothes on balconies, Cllr Nolan said, “This has been going on for years and people were asking nicely not to do it, and you can see it now – it’s causing great distress to people, to old residents of the town.”
She added that the apartments were on the main thoroughfares of the town. “Clothes and rugs hanging over the balcony and satellite dishes on the front of houses don’t send out the right signal. We’re asking people just to have a little civic pride.”
Cllr Mae Sexton said one of the apartment buildings was one that she had personally objected to being built back in 1999 when she was chairperson.
“It could see it; I could see Ballymun Towers and the blankets and all the clothes hanging out because there was no provision ever made in planning at that stage and I don’t even think to this day for the facilities for people to wash and dry their clothes in apartments like that,” said Cllr Sexton.
Cllr Alan Mitchell suggested that the litter wardens should be given extra responsibilities to look into the issue. He underlined that it is illegal to have the dishes positioned on the front of buildings.
“In fact it’s a little bit ironic that in some of the houses across from the County Council offices you see the satellite dishes out front and they have them there for two, three and four years,” said Cllr Mitchell, who suggested that people may not be aware that they’re not allowed to have the dishes on the front of the building.
In response, Town Clerk Dan Rooney agreed that the dishes are supposed to be to the rear, but said, “We have a planner here two or three times a week and practically all of his work is taken up with the unfinished housing estates. We just don’t have anyone to do it,” he said.
Town Manager Jack Kilgallen said the staff embargo is a major issue for the council, who used to have nine planners, but now have four. “The amount of legislation that’s coming down under planning to be implemented is putting the whole organisation, both the county and town, under the severe stress,” he said.
Cllr Tony Flaherty said there was a real need for a planner to be based in the Town Council for a month continuously in order to clear the backlog of work.