Louth tops poll for high number of coun­cil CPO’s

The Argus - - NEWS - By OLIVIA RYAN

LOUTH con­tin­ues to top the poll na­tion­ally for the high rate of va­cant or derelict houses bought over by the lo­cal au­thor­ity us­ing Com­pul­sory Pur­chase Or­ders (CPOs).

As re­ported by the Ar­gus in Septem­ber, Louth Count Coun­cil is lead­ing the way in bring­ing aban­doned houses back into use through the CPO scheme.

In­deed, lat­est fig­ures in­di­cated that out of the 240 at­tempts to take own­er­ship of va­cant prop­er­ties us­ing CPOs, a to­tal of 141 were in Louth, at a to­tal cost of just over €1.5 mil­lion.

The houses bought by the coun­cil are then sub­ject to ren­o­va­tion to bring them up to lo­cal au­thor­ity stan­dard be­fore be­ing of­fered to thoes on the so­cial hous­ing list.

Louth County Coun­cil’s pursuit of the CPO route to bring more houses into the so­cial hous­ing mar­ket be­gan back in 2015 when they took part in a pi­lot scheme.

In­deed, the Ar­gus learned tha the process be­gan ini­tially with a plan to CPO 24 houses in Dun­dalk and 12 in Drogheda.

For these prop­er­ties, the lo­cal au­thor­ity will look at spe­cific houses which are more ac­ces­si­ble, pos­si­bly de­tached or end of ter­race.

‘Our logic al­ways has been, these houses are va­cant, not for sale, and in many cases they are de­tract­ing from the neigh­bour­hood at very least,’ saidDirecto of Ser­vice, Hous­ing Joe McGuin­ness.

‘At worst they can be sources of an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour or dump­ing and can at­tract ver­min, and cause damp­ness which has im­pacted on neigh­bours.’

The coun­cil’ suc­cess in CPO’s across Louth has drawn na­tional at­ten­tion, with Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar and Min­is­ter for Hous­ing Eoghan Mur­phy both over the last year cit­ing Louth as an ex­am­ple for other lo­cal au­thor­i­ties to fol­low.

The re­fur­bish­ment process can take ei­ther three months, or six months, depend­ing on their con­di­tion, and the needs of new ten­ants.

The coun­cil have ad­mit­ted that some of the houses are those taken back by the banks af­ter the prop­erty crash, which are now be­ing put back into use for so­cial hous­ing.

The CPO ini­tia­tive works largely through the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of prop­er­ties that ap­pear to have been aban­doned, with re­ports be­ing made by lo­cal peo­ple through the ded­i­cated web­site www.va­can­thomes.ie

‘Peo­ple tend to no­tice if a house in their street or their es­tate is aban­doned, as it be­come run down, grass doesn’t be cut. When we get re­ports through va­can­thomes.ie we will look at them. But ob­vi­ously not ev­ery prop­erty will be suit­able for CPO,’ added Mr.McGuin­ness

‘An­other pos­i­tive im­pact of the process though is that some prop­erty own­ers are con­scious of our ac­tiv­i­ties and have put their prop­erty into pro­duc­tive use as a re­sult.’

Mickey and Conor O’Kane at the Brickx Club Sci­ence week in Dun­dalk Li­brary.

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