Cllr. Pio Smith.
Bringing the centre of Drogheda back to life by repairing run-down buildings, using their ground floors for shops and offices and the upper storeys for badly needed housing is an idea that has been close to Cllr. Pio Smith’s heart for some time.
Not long after he became Mayor in June 2017 he began campaigning to have Drogheda included in the Living City Initiative, which offers tax reliefs to owners who repair run-down buildings in designated areas.
So far nothing has come of that campaign but Cllr. Smith has not given up on the general idea.
At last week’s Drogheda Borough District meeting he proposed that the Council use their powers under the Derelict Sites Act to acquire by compulsory purchase orders, buildings in Narrow West Street that have no owner or whose owners who are not engaging with the council.
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“It is within the powers of Louth County Council to purchase derelict buildings and convert the first, second and third floors into apartments and lease out the ground floor for business purposes” he told Drogheda Life.
“This would allow families to be taken off the social housing list and have the added advantage of bringing life back into the area.
“It also is cost effective as the HAP rate per year for a 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments in the private sector is approximately €40,000 per year.
“If the council purchased a building/buildings we could have 3-6 plus units occupied within 12 months. This is a quicker turnaround than building from scratch.
“Also, it might be possible for the Local Authority to avail of funds under the "Repair and Lease Scheme" whereby the state gives a maximum of €40,000 per housing unit to be brought up to social housing standards.
“Taken together it is a cost effective way to house people and lead the way in the regeneration of a historic part of Drogheda.”
Louth County Council said in reply that Section 11 notices have been served on two properties in Narrow West Street but the requirements have not been complied with by the owners. In addition, a Dangerous Buildings Notice has also been served on one of these properties. The condition of the building is being monitored constantly".
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