Louth tops poll for high number of council CPO’s
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.