The Old Mill at Julianstown.
Twelve years after it burned down, and after years of campaigning by locals, the Old Mill beside the river Nanny at Julianstown has finally been placed on the Derelict Sites Register by Meath County Council (MCC).
The building, which was once a thriving hotel, bar and nightclub and the venue for many weddings and other social occasions, has long been an eyesore and the scene of anti-social behaviour much to the annoyance of local residents.
In June 2008 MCC officials declared the site to be derelict but did not enter it on the Derelict Sites Register in accordance with the provisions of the Derelict Sites Act, 1990 until this week.
The move has been welcomed by local environmental group Protect East Meath and the Julianstown and District Community Association.
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Fred Logue of Protect East Meath who is a lawyer specialising in planning and environment law, told Drogheda Life that it is one of the local authority’s statutory duties to eliminate dereliction.
Mr Logue explained that now that the Council has included the 18th century mill house, which is a protected structure, on the register of derelict sites they can issue notices to the owners requiring them to carry out works to clean up the site and if they fail to comply they can compulsorily purchase the property.
They can also place a levy on the site which would mean that MCC would get a slice of any future sale.
Two years ago MCC took steps to compel the owners to carry out remedial works on the building and they did remove graffiti and clear away weeds but there has been nothing done since to improve the look of the building which takes away from what is otherwise a very attractive village despite being on a very busy road.
Asked what the next step should be, Mr Logue said that it would be a good idea for the Council to sit down with the local community to work out a plan for the future of the area.
Niamh Uí Loinsigh, the Chair of the Julianstown and District Community Association (JDCA) said that it is “a crying shame to see the derelict building which is right in the centre of what is otherwise a lovely vibrant place.
She said the dereliction of the building has had a negative impact on the community’s Tidy Town’s results over the years dragging down their marks despite all of their best efforts.
“We have engaged with both the owners and the Council” she said but added that the Council had told them that putting the building on the derelict sites register could put any potential buyer off.
She added that the JDCA committee had been doing everything they possibly could to get the site developed but to no avail. “the owners don’t seem to want to sell” she said.