Tuesday 24 October 2017

No end in sight for living nightmare

Overgrown green area at Tower Hill, Ballymote.
Overgrown green area at Tower Hill, Ballymote.

It's been described as a living hell for residents of a Ballymote housing estate but it seems there's no end in sight to their nightmare.

Some three years after anti-social behaviour at Tower Hill was first highlighted, residents say things are getting worse.

"Nothing is being done, nothing has changed.

"In fact, it's getting worse here," said one resident of the 55 house estate, of which about 12 are occupied.

Others have been boarded up after repeated acts of vandalism.

Many of the properties were buy to let but landlords cannot rent them out given the level of anti social behaviour in the estate.

Some of the houses have been returned to the banks.

The resident said legal action against some householders appears to have come to a halt.

"Eviction notices were served on a number of families but apparently the paperwork wasn't in order.

"I paid €178,000 for my house seven years ago. About five weeks ago a house a few doors down from me sold for €20,000.

"Another went for €35,000 before that.

"My wife and I moved here to retire.

"Now, we're looking across at a green area that's overgrown.

"Residents used to get together and cut the grass but even that's all stopped now.

"You cannot even go outside your own front door without being verbally abused or something being thrown at you.

"You're afraid to leave your home. They are just laughing at us.

"Before going for a walk you have to look outside to check to see who is around.

"Last week, a house which had been boarded up had its front door kicked in.

"I rang the owner who lives in Sligo and he told me he'd handed it back to the banks.

"The front door was left swinging open and its windows were broken.

"There are few houses in the estate that haven't had windows smashed.

"The vacant houses have been subjected to constant thefts.

"Some fifteen copper cylinders have disappeared from the houses.

"Rubbish is piling up at the back of some houses.

"It's just a nightmare living here.

"I'm sorry I ever heard of Ballymote.

"I don't know what can be done.

"Those served with the eviction notices won't move.

"On a daily basis there's acts of vandalism and intimidation.

"There used to be regular meetings of residents to try to see what could be done but even these have stopped now.

"People are afraid to meet because of the intimidation.

"There's been meetings with the Gardai but there are very few patrols in the area."

Sligo Champion