'We just wish they would finish what they started'
'We were supposed to have a nice gate and pillars'
THE golden image of one of Ireland's prettiest villages is in danger of being tarnished by unfinished estates.
Leighlinbridge in Co Carlow cleans up in the National Tidy Towns every year for its beautiful landscaping, hanging baskets and views of the River Barrow. However, some housing estates in the small community are tarnishing its appeal.
One of the worst examples of this is Ballyknockan Manor. It is surrounded by unoccupied houses, mounds of clay, rubble and foundations. Fencing is erected around part of the site, where building stopped some time ago.
Jimmy Sullivan sold his house in Tallaght in Dublin two years ago and moved to Ballyknockan Manor with his wife, Mary. They adored Leighlinbridge and wanted to live in the countryside. The couple paid €255,000 for their three-bedroom semi-detached home. Jimmy said he bought the house in its particular site because he was promised it would overlook a green area. However, his view of the mountains is obstructed by a massive mound of dirt.
"It's an awful pity. Myself and Mary love the area -- we just wish they would tidy up the place and finish what they started."
He also raised concerns about how he cannot let his grandchildren out to play: "One of the houses across the road was burned."
Camellie Than from Burma bought her home in the estate with her husband, Sam, where they now live with their two children Daniel (7 months) and Davina (5).
"We were supposed to have a nice gate and pillars at the entrance. Just look at it now," she said.
"We paid a lot of money. My husband is working in the Lord Bagenal Hotel and I'm not working at the moment. We have to pay a big mortgage. Then I heard the showhouse went for sale with everything in it for €160,000. We're very disappointed."
Developers of the estate Melco said the company were doing "everything" possible to ensure the first phase of the estate, which contains 28 houses, was finished.
"We're very close to the target with the bank -- if we get three sales over the line, we intend to get the pillars up at the front and the mound down.
"We're completely controlled by the banks but I would never walk away from the estate, as best as I can," a spokesman said.
He added: "We're not a ghost estate. We're doing everything we can to ensure the green area is finished."
He also said up to 19 houses were sold or close to being sold.