Derelict site warning part of Wexford Quay revamp
OWNERS of derelict properties on the Wexford Quays and elsewhere in town and county are to be asked to smarten them up or face financial penalties and even compulsory purchase orders (CPOs).
County chief executive Tom Enright, who is orchestrating a major plan to improve the streetscape of the quays, said that while the local authority preferred to work with owners and get them to tidy up derelict properties, the council could levy three per cent of their value and had the power to charge owners for any work as well as using CPOs to acquire the sites.
'However, we don't want to use the stick and want people to work with us,' he told this newspaper.
He didn't cite any quayfront sites that could come under the council microscope, but said 'they are obvious to everybody'.
Mr. Enright described the quayfront as the window to the town.
'It's what people see when they drive into the town.. if you look back over the river the view is spectacular, but it's not very attractive when you look the other way.. it needs to be linked back to the very busy main street and to be turned into a pedestrian zone,' he said.
It's not just the quayfront that is coming in for attention, and Mr. Enright said that one town centre premises that need to be sorted out was the old Dunnes building on Main Street.
'It's untenable that you have a major retailer abandoning a property in the main street of the town and we have been talking to them about it, but there are a number of abandoned buildings in the town
Dunnes recently 'revamped' the appearance of the building, putting up stickers in the windows that front on to the main street. Talking about the amibitious plans for the quayfront, which will cost between €2 and €3 million, Mr. Enright said that while there was no funding in place at the moment, the idea was to have the plans 'shovel-ready' by the time it did become available. 'At this stage we have to go through the appointment of architects, drafting proposals, public consultation and the planning process and that could take the rest of 2015.
Mr Enright said that given the government's improving finannces and with Brendan Howlin in place as Minister for Public Expenditure, funds could become available for capital projects later in the year, something the Wexford deputy was keen on. 'What we don't want is that funding calls become available.. that we don't have a project available that is shovel-ready. We need to have everything ready to go,' said Mr. Enright.
He said another area getting attention was the extension of the cycle track, currently planned from the quays to Drinagh, as far as Rosslare.
'We already have proposals to try and develop the cycle track and are preparing tender documents to extend it all the way to Rosslare. What I am hoping is that we can start preparing various types of projects and are not last in the queue.'