Con­cerns over halt­ing site at Marsh­mead­ows

New Ross Standard - - NEWS -

A lengthy de­bate en­sued about the way the halt­ing site in Marsh­mead­ows is mon­i­tored.

Hous­ing of­fi­cer Padraig O’Gorman said three new fam­i­lies from the dis­trict are due to move into the halt­ing site, as they do not wish to be ac­com­mo­dated in houses.

He said a new en­trance, in­clud­ing a gate, for the halt­ing site has been de­signed.

‘It would give views into the mid­dle of the halt­ing site. There will be a new stone fronted wall. It’s a nice aes­thetic en­trance.’

Additional CCTV will be in­stalled to as­sist in mon­i­tor­ing the es­tate.

Mr O’Gro­man sought the ap­proval of the mem­bers to open three of the six back bays.

Cllr Larry O’Brien asked for the ditch and any big trees out­side the halt­ing site to be cut to im­prove vis­i­bil­ity into the area. He also sought a com­mitt­ment from the ten­ants to re­move any horses or ponies from county coun­cil fields be­side the halt­ing site.

Mr O’Gorman said he would fol­low this up im­me­di­ately.

Cllr O’Brien said he could not ap­prove of hav­ing three more Trav­eller fam­i­lies on the halt­ing site. ‘It’s the bane of our lives since it went in there.’ He asked where the three fam­i­lies are liv­ing now.

He asked if any more Trav­eller fam­i­lies will be ac­com­mo­dated in the re­main­ing three bays and was told by Mr O’Gorman that this is not cur­rently the plan, but that the plan may change.

Cathaoir­leach Cllr Wil­lie Fitzhar­ris said con­sid­er­ing the hous­ing cri­sis and the de­mand on Wex­ford County Coun­cil for houses, there was merit in not forc­ing peo­ple into houses when they don’t want to oc­cupy them. Mr O’Gorman said un­der draft data pro­tec­tion laws coun­cil­lors will no longer know any­thing about ten­ants mov­ing into coun­cil es­tates or hous­ing es­tates from else­where.

Cllr Martin Mur­phy ques­tioned the worth of CCTV, ask­ing if the cam­eras are mon­i­tored. ‘Are they a waste of pub­lic fund­ing?’

Mr O’Gorman said the cam­eras record footage from the com­mon area in the halt­ing site. ‘You can’t have them shin­ing in some­one’s back door. The tapes are valid for a 30 day pe­riod and then the footage is deleted.’

Cllr Mur­phy said if the tapes were an­a­lysed reg­u­larly it might act as a de­ter­rent against cer­tain be­hav­iour. Mr O’Gorman said the tapes are only looked at if an in­ci­dent is re­ported.

Cllr O’Brien called for a care­taker and/or a se­cu­rity man to be used on site. ‘Mil­lions have been spent on Marsh­mead­ows (halt­ing site) since it went in there 22 years ago, All we have to do is ap­ply for money from Dublin and it comes. At the end of the day Wex­ford County Coun­cil is re­spon­si­ble for any­thing that goes wrong.’

He called for a monthly in­spec­tion of the halt­ing site, which Mr O’Gorman agreed to look at.

Cllr Fitzhar­ris said: ‘ I think it would be vi­tal to pro­tect our own prop­erty as well.’

Cllr Michael Whe­lan said coun­cil­lors were be­ing asked to ap­prove al­low­ing fam­i­lies into an area with­out know­ing any­thing about them. Con­cern was ex­pressed that fam­i­lies could move into the halt­ing site and six months later trou­ble oc­curs and coun­cil­lors are left open to be blamed for sanc­tion­ing the move. The dis­cus­sion was ad­journed to a later meet­ing. A new en­trance be­ing opened into The Docks Ho­tel will see a wall caus­ing sight­line is­sues for driv­ers knocked.

Cllr An­thony Con­nick said there is a wall be­side the foot­path. He asked if the coun­cil road works on new foot­paths, pub­lic ligt­ing, resur­fac­ing and the un­der­ground­ing of over­head ca­bles will add to the prob­lem.

Ex­ec­u­tive En­gi­neer Abra­ham Dunne said: ‘ The wall is com­ing out as they are up­grad­ing the en­trance to the ho­tel so vis­i­bil­ity will be greatly im­proved there. Cllr Michael Shee­han said the foot­path seems to be wider than it used to be. ‘Peo­ple are say­ing they have to drive onto the on­com­ing traf­fic lane.’

Mr Dunne said the foot­path is be­ing up­graded at Goat Hill.

The halt­ing site at Marsh­mead­ows.

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