Monday, 3 October 2011

Council pushing for green light to bulldoze ghost estate

A COUNCIL wants to bulldoze a ghost estate that has been empty since building stopped almost three years ago.

The Department of the Environment has not yet allowed a local authority to demolish unfinished houses over fears the department could be dragged in to a "legal minefield".

However, a Wexford County Council official indicated at the last monthly meeting that a request to raze Coill na Giuise to the ground might be successful.

In the first instance, the department refused the council permission to bulldoze the estate but Wexford is digging in its heels -- and has asked environment officials to reconsider.

The Department of the Environment last night told the Irish Independent it generally favoured making such housing estates safe by fencing them off. A spokesman added that no ghost estates had been flattened to date, to its knowledge.

"There would be issues with ownership, the councils do not own the property," he added.

Coill na Giuise was planned as a luxury development of three and four-bedroom homes but today Coill na Giuise is the only unfinished housing development in Gorey, Co Wexford.


Only seven of the 79 houses planned for the site at the Ballytegan Road were ever finished and these have became a target for vandals and a focal point for anti-social behaviour.

The costs of flattening the site and cleaning the area is not known.

However, it is estimated that it would take less than €100,000 to finish the houses that are already standing and to landscape the estate.

Wexford councillor Robert Ireton condemned the local authority for wanting the estate flattened.

"I think it'd be a shame to knock them down. The houses there, they're like Lego, they come plastered and bolted together.

"I think it would be sinful to knock them down. I'd prefer to see people on social housing getting them," he said.

Mr Ireton, who lives in Gorey, said he believed the developer paid "way over the odds" for the land and got into financial difficulties.

He added: "We can't get enough money to fill potholes so I don't know how they'd get money to knock down houses.

"Surely if they were spending money, it would make logical sense to finish whatever is there."

At the last meeting of Wexford County Council, director of services Eamonn Hore told members that the Environment Department refused the council's initial request to demolish the estate. However, the council went back and repeated its request, and, he told the meeting, the department was reviewing the case.

"It looks like they will see it the same way we do," said Mr Hore.

Attempts to contact the developer were unsuccessful last night. It is not known when the department will make a final decision.

Eimear Ni Bhraonain
Irish Independent

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