Carrick-on-Suir Town Council is moving to have an unsightly disused service station site in the town centre declared derelict, which will result in the owners having to pay a hefty annual levy until it’s spruced up.
Town Clerk Michael O’Brien says the Council is to issue notices to the owners of the site on John Street under the Derelict Sites Act as work has not commenced on its redevelopment despite several assurances from them that this was to happen.
This will be the second attempt by the Town Council to declare the site derelict, a status that incurs an annual levy on the property’s owners until they remove it from dereliction.
Mr O’Brien said a Derelict Sites Act notice was issued to the owners in April last year . But the owners made representations requesting that it not be declared derelict as they were working on fully redeveloping the site after receiving planning permission the previous October to build a new shop and redevelop the service station there.
“The Council contacted the owners on several further occasions and was given assurances that it was intended to commence re-development of the site in the near future. However to date work has not commenced at this location,” he told Town Council members at their July meeting.
Mr O’Brien was responding to a motion about the site tabled at the meeting by Cllr Martin Henzey, who described it as an “eye-sore” that looked like something from a “war zone”.
Cllr Henzey said he highlighted the appearance of the site two years ago and it was still in the same state.
He said a site like this in the town centre wouldn’t encourage any visitors to stay in Carrick-on-Suir.
Cllr Margaret Croke, who lives close to the site, said she would welcome a start on redeveloping the site but due to the downturn in the economy it was going to take a while to get projects like this going and she had to be realistic. However, she had heard on the grapevine that construction work was to comence there soon.
Fianna Fail Cllr Kieran Bourke requested the town clerk to write to the Co. Council’s Planning Department seeking that a condition be attached to any future planning permissions granted for the town centre stipulating that if a project is not started within a set period of time that proper hoarding and screening of the site, approved by the Town Engineer, would have to be carried out.
Concluding the discussion, Mr O’Brien said the annual derelict site levy on the property might encourage the developer to take action.
“We have given them every chance. I am sure they had every intention of going ahead but at this stage we have no option but to go to the next stage and declare the site derelict.”