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Gorey councillors call for faster action on derelict properties


The outside wall of the derelict site at Coill Na Giúise, Gorey. Pic: Jim Campbell

The outside wall of the derelict site at Coill Na Giúise, Gorey. Pic: Jim Campbell

Senior Executive Officer in Planning Tom Banville.

Senior Executive Officer in Planning Tom Banville.


The outside wall of the derelict site at Coill Na Giúise, Gorey. Pic: Jim Campbell


Gorey councillors called for swift action to be taken on derelict properties in the district, with some expressing frustration at the current pace.

At the February meeting of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council, Senior Executive Officer in Planning with Wexford County Council, Tom Banville said that they continued to monitor and investigate derelict properties in the district. In response, the members had a barrage of questions regarding the progress of several listed properties.

Councillor Anthony Donohoe noted that, according to the report, 7 Garden City was listed with “intention of use to be confirmed”. Chairperson Cllr Donal Kenny observed that the property in question was now in the ownership of Wexford County Council and said that “surely we would be able to do something with that when we’re the owners.”

Mr Banville clarified the status of the property, explaining to the members that the Council have yet to decide what they intend to do with it.

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"Housing will have the first say on that so I will have to revert to them,” he said. “There is no clear intended use there. If one isn’t found, there is the possibility of putting it back on the market.”

"It’s been vested since September 2022, which is seven months ago,” responded Cllr Donohoe. “How come that wasn’t brought to Housing in October? The pace at which it’s moving is, again, like everything else, really frustrating.”

Councillor Andrew Bolger also pushed for progress on the property, asking that they receive an answer regarding the intended use for the property by the March meeting.

"We do have a housing crisis and need to put our shoulder to the wheel and get answers as quickly as possible and move on that as soon as possible.”

Mr Banville said that he would follow up on the matter with the Housing section and try to obtain an answer quickly.

Responding to a query from Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin on whether a decision had been received from An Bord Pleanala regarding a derelict property at 8 Eire Street, Mr Banville said that they are still awaiting an answer.

"There has been levies applied on that property and it will continue to be levied until it is either in the ownership of Wexford County Council through CPO or the dereliction is removed.”

Councillor Willie Kavanagh queried the status of a derelict property in Oylgate, which he said is “becoming more dangerous every week”.

Mr Banville agreed that the property was growing more dangerous and said that he would speak to the engineers regarding actions that could be taken to secure it. He said that he did not have an update on the CPO status of the property.

Two Ballyedmond properties were on the mind of Councillor Pip Breen, who queried the “no levy applied” status of the old dispensary and thatched cottage in the village. Mr Banville said that the two properties are currently pending valuation and the purpose of valuation was to be able to apply a levy. Cllr Breen also asked about two derelict properties in Ballycanew, saying that, despite him bringing them up for years, are still not on the derelict property list. Mr Banville said that they have been investigated and are being pursued.

The former “ghost estate” at Coill na Giúise at Ballytegan was referenced by Cllr Ó Súilleabháin. Work at this site began in the mid-2000s, with the site originally intended to include 79 homes. However, the economic crash led to only seven houses being completed and by 2009, the estate had been abandoned and the developers gone into administration.

Cllr Ó Súilleabháin said that, “as far back as 2011”, the Council recommended that this site be sold and repurposed for housing. He noted that it was sold in 2014 but said it has been “lying there since”. He said that, despite the fact that planning permission was granted to Zant Property in 2021 for houses, nothing had been commenced.

"It’s been lying there for practically two decades. If you want to see an example of the frustratingly slow pace of events with planning and housing, that’s a good example,” he said. “People shouldn’t be allowed to sit on a site where we are developing nearby. That seems to be a pattern. There should be some penalty for sitting on it.”

Mr Banville said that the site went on the register in 2017, saying that a “significant levy” is being applied on it on an annual basis. 

“Planning permission was granted in 2021 and that involved some demolition," he said. 

“When it is in private use, all we can do in terms of dereliction is to apply the levy on the property and pursue the owner.”

Cllr Ó Súilleabháin queried whether further action could be taken if levies were “not working” and Mr Banville said that the aim of the new Residential Zone Land Tax (RZLT) is to apply “further pressure” to properties like that.

Cllr Donohoe queried whether RZLT will be applied to land that, while zoned residential, is owned by farmers who have no intention to sell and wish to continue to farm it.

Mr Banville said that RZLT is only applied to land that is both zoned residential and “serviceable”, meaning that it has access by road, public lighting, water services and wastewater mains.