Council’s CPO Flat Block Bid

Eoghan Dalton Reports

A 22-flat city centre apartment block is among the 44 properties the Council has sought to bring under its control through a large scale round of compulsory purchase orders (CPOs).Clarendon Court, located on Penrose Lane near O’Connell Street, has been described by the Council as vacant and is currently in private ownership. It is just one of the 16 CPOs targeting 44 individual properties throughout the City and County, announced earlier this month.
This is the most ambitious of the CPOs, with the majority focused on standalone vacants scattered across the City and County. A handful are located in Tramore while another identified vacant homes is in Kilmacthomas.

In their dealings with the Waterford authority, An Bord Pleanála officials have described CPOs as a “last resort” due to the right to property contained within the Constitution.
Waterford Council has come under significant pressure to deliver social housing, with over 1,500 applicants currently on the housing waiting list.
Council Chief Executive Michael Walsh told media earlier this month that the priority is to “ensure that existing housing stock is used to the maximum degree possible” to ease the housing crisis in Waterford.

Clarendon Court, which the City & County Council wishes to acquire via Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

Clarendon Court, which the City & County Council wishes to acquire via Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO).

However, he admitted the right to property is the issue when it comes to the Council successfully acquiring private properties. One method of justification it has in its arsenal is whether the purchase would be for a social good. Decisions on the CPOs will be made by the planning board over the coming months. The earliest of those is centred on Clarendon Court and is scheduled for Monday, October 1st. The Property Services Regulatory Authority has listed one of the apartments as being sold recently for €51,000, with its deeds transferring into new ownership in April. Council sources maintain the owner of this apartment will end up being reimbursed as part of the CPO.
One of the ideas behind the CPO of the property is to clarify who are the landlords involved in the building – one of the reputed owners is the Bank of Scotland Plc. A concern is that several fell into difficulty following the recession, leading to little movement throughout this decade for the two-bed flats.
Some CPO decisions have gone the Council’s way already this year, with three being decided in the summer. These were 40 Johnstown, 22 Thomas Hill and 86 Lismore Park – all located within the city.

The rest of the authority’s CPOs have yet to be published. However, the current list is as follows: 75 Viewmount Park (city), 3 Darby Grove, Earlscourt (city) and 15 Tramore Heights, Tramore – with all three belonging to one landlord; 46 Herblain Park (city); 12 Ormonde Crescent, Lismore Lawn (city); Number 14 William Street (city); three flats in Barker Place, Barker Street (city); 21 Hillview, Kilmacthomas. The rest of the authority’s recent CPOs have yet to be published.
Waterford People Before Profit representative Una Dunphy, who was among those who occupied the former Presbytery building at the start of the month as part of the Take Back The City movement, welcomed the Council’s action.

She added: “While we appreciate the difficulties attached to CPOs due to Irish property rights, the sheer volume of vacant properties amid a housing and homeless crisis displays a lack of impetus and energy regarding the housing of the needy, [which goes] beyond the negligence of property owners in our City and County.
“Ahead of a compulsory purchase order, vacant buildings should be hastily followed up by the Council as they sometimes are left vacant by owners demanding unrealistic rents. This has negative effects on the streetscape and on the possible use of the building for accommodation.”
Ms Dunphy said that fines should be considered for landlords who leave their buildings vacant, similar to levies imposed on sites left vacant by their owners who may be waiting for the prices to rise. “The Council needs to push these properties into us

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