independent

Sunday 15 September 2019

After more than 10 years, estate still not finished

Lorraine Finn lives in Clonattin Village with husband Peter and their six children.
Lorraine Finn lives in Clonattin Village with husband Peter and their six children.

By Esther Hayden

Mother of six Lorraine Finn has lived on The Avenue in Clonattin Village for the past eight years.

When she moved to Gorey from Dublin with her husband Peter and their then family of four she said they moved because they needed a bigger house and we couldn't afford one in Dublin and it was just safer here for the kids.

'Initially we only saw the first phase of houses but then my father-in-law saw this house and we saw the plans for the area with all the amenities and we were sold on the idea.'

The development was to include a supermarket, 18 shops, office units, a park and children's playground including a multi sports surface, and a childcare centre.

Now years later the only amenities in the very large housing estate are a childcare centre and a small playground.

'All the amenities that were to be built definitely attracted us to the area but all that's here is the playground,' said Lorraine.

While the playground has a range of different equipment some of it has been covered with graffiti while there are also problems with anti social behaviour there. It's also quite small considering the number of houses it serves.

'The playground is often full of rubbish and there's problems with older teenagers hanging around there drinking. There was a lot of trouble at first with that but it has eased off a bit. There was also a fire set in the area. In the summer it's always full too which can be a problem.'

Lorraine said that often it is the parents who end up keeping the playground clean.

'Some of the parents including myself try to keep it clean. I usually go out with the kids, especially in the summer, to clean it up.

'There was meant to be a football pitch and a basketball court but they were never built either.'

The lack of a cohesive residents association is also a problem. 'There are a lot of houses and apartments rented so people are coming and going. That makes it very difficult to keep a resident's association going.'

A building which had been built on the site but never used was knocked last year while much of the curtilage of the second phase remains fenced off - an eyesore and constant remainder of the dream that people bought into which was never realised.

'Even if they took the fence down it would be something. People are throwing rubbish over it the whole time and creating a mess. Sometimes parts of it blow down in strong winds.'

Lorraine said a bit of maintenance is done but said it is largely confined to grass cutting.

The playground itself isn't locked at night leaving it wide open to vandals. 'At the weekends there can be a lot of smashed beer bottles in the playground which we have to clean up. I don't mind because my kids are playing there but it shouldn't be happening.

'When there was a resident's association we asked the developers to put a higher fence around the playground and we were told a budget. We got someone willing to do the work for that price but then they said they didn't have any money.'

Lorraine also said that many people in the estate, herself included, have problems with their houses. 'A lot of people have problems internally too with damp and also with their windows not fitting properly. I must paint my ensuite bathroom once a month because of the damp, even using damp proof paint.'

Speeding is also a problem for residents because there are no ramps within the estate and this is especially noticeable around the playground.

Lorraine also said that some of the fenced off areas are being used by people to let their dogs run but this is creating a problem with dog poop. 'One of my kids was attacked by a stray dog previously and it has scared them.'

Despite these issues Lorraine, husband Peter and children Jamie, Aaron, Ryan, Kian, Joshua and Sophia, love Gorey. 'I wouldn't want to move. I love Gorey. I just wish they finished the estate off. They gave us excuse after excuse and now there hasn't been sight of them in years.'

A derelict building which is surrounded by an extensive area of land is gated off and is for sale with Myles Doyle Sherry Fitzgerald in Arklow.

The 9,000 sq foot building is finished to core level according to the property details and is currently zoned as a community use. However Sherry Fitz said it may be possible, subject to planning, to use the building as offices.

Lorraine said that a lot of the residents would like to see the building turned into a community youth club. 'A lot of the parents would be willing to help out and it would be a place not just for people living in Clonattin but also in Gorey. I know plenty of people who would be willing to put time into helping. It wouldn't take much, just a pool table, a darts board and a few things like that.'

Wexford People

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