WEXFORD County Council is expected to get permission soon from the Department of the Environment to call in the 'ghost-busters'.... and bulldoze a ghost estate.
The Department recently blocked a plan by the Council to demolish Coill na Giuise on the Ballytegan Road in Gorey but has had a change of heart, according to an official.
Director of Services Eamonn Hore told last week's Wexford County Council meeting that the Council recommended that the houses should come down but the Department said 'no'. Undeterred, local authority officials went back to the Department and repeated the request.
' They have now re-engaged on that basis. It looks like they will see it the same way we do,' said Mr. Hore. He told Councillors that he would have more definite information soon.
Cllr. Malcolm Byrne criticised an earlier instruction from the Department that estates like Coill na Giuise should be retained and secured. ' The view of Councillors in this area is that they should be knocked,' he said.
Instead, the Council has to spend money making them safe, he said.
'If the best result is to knock it, we should knock it, rather than spending thousands of Euro every year on making it safe.
'If they are never going to be finished, there is no point in leaving them there.'
'No doubt more damage will have been done in 12 months time and they will also have attracted anti-social behaviour,' said Cllr. Byrne. ' The money would be better off spent on bulldozing these estates.'
He said Coill na Giuise could not be saved and in his view, it would make far more sense to demolish it.
Coill na Giuise was branded as 'an exclusive development of three and four bedroom homes', when launched on the market. A planning notice from 2008 showed that 79 houses were planned on site, though an earlier application by a different company was for 65 homes.
Work stopped on site around three years ago when the developer ran into difficulties. The site has lain idle since.
Now, the seven partially completed houses lie derelict, with their windows smashed, and internal walls incomplete. Scaffolding still stands around one of the buildings, while bales of building blocks and other building materials lie amongst the forest of weeds that have sprung up across the development. The site is bounded along the Ballytegan Road by a wall and footpath.
The site is accessible to pedestrians, as the fencing at the entrance to the site has fallen down. Broken bottles and indiscriminate dumping are in evidence on the site.
Cllr. Byrne said this week the site is in an 'appalling state'.
'Visually it looks awful, and it's attracting dumping and anti-social behaviour,' he said. It's completely unfair on the residents living nearby. For anybody who walks by, it's horrendous. The only thing was, we got a bit of extra footpath.'