Louth County Council have confirmed they are considering refurbishing a number of homes taken under their control via Compulsory Purchase Orders for disability use.
Speaking at Thursday’s Ardee Municipal District committee meeting, Director of Services Joe McGuinness said, “Works are currently at design stage for refurbishment. We will see activity on those houses.” He told the six assembled Ardee and Mid-Louth councillors that the bungalows that have been attained – of which they are three – will be considered for disability use.
In 2017, the local authority purchased two properties – 1 Dawsons Demesne and 13 Campbells Park before confirming the CPO of 12 Dawson’s Demesne shortly afterwards. These properties are all bungalows and would be suitable to adapt for physical disability use.
Whilst this news will be welcome, coming alongside news that work on new homes at Oaklee on Tierney Street in Ardee – a seven house development including two buildings that will home six people with intellectual disabilities – the fact that only four properties in the Ardee and Mid-Louth area has been CPO’d in 2017 was met with a muted reponse by councillors.
Sinn Fein councillor Tom Cunningham said, “I’m disappointed to only see four CPOs in Mid-Louth area. When you look at the figures, there’s 37 in Dundalk.”
In reponse, McGuinness said the council were acquiring homes where the demand is, more often in neighbouring districts like Dundalk and Drogheda. “We going to be more active where the property lists are longer. They are longer in Dundalk and Drogheda. Some of the first units we’ve got from VacantHomes.ie, we now have in our possession.”
“These are the houses that are reported to us,” he added. McGuinness said that the timeframe from the local authority first receiving a report to completing the CPO process spanned around four months, with an additional three to six months needed to complete refurbishments of the property.
Councillors heard in September that Louth County Council intended to “aggressively pursue” vacant social housing units as part of their efforts to deal with the shortage of available housing in Ardee and across the county.
Officials said they were working towards greatly reducing the number of vacant properties around Louth – using Compulsory Purchase Orders and Rebuilding Ireland’s Buy-and-Renew schemes.