independent

Tuesday 17 September 2019

No lighting, No Trespassing signs, ghostly interiors by day

Marta Walsh at Castlehyde Park's uncompleted buildings. RIGHT: Castlehyde Park's finishedhouses.
Marta Walsh at Castlehyde Park's uncompleted buildings. RIGHT: Castlehyde Park's finishedhouses.

By daVID LOOBY

MARTA Walsh looks impatiently at four fenced in, derelict buildings directly across from her Castlehyde Park, Rosbercon home. Her impatience is justified. None of the four ramshackle buildings have been touched for years.

Up until Thursday, when it was torn down, there was a large 20ft hoarding from the Noughties advertising one-bed houses for €149,000 and four-bed houses for €195,000 at the estate's entrance.

The houses are now selling for €80,000.

When we visited last Wednesday most of the houses were empty, but there were cars in the driveways, I'm told men working on clearing two houses and three acres of land to the rear of the estate own them.

Outside of most houses there are garish Warning, Keep Out and No Trespassing signs.

The feeling is of a Hollywood Tim Burton set.

The estate, where Marta and her husband Nicholas have made their home for these past two years, looks like trouble at first site.

A ghost estate with an eerie, ghostly atmosphere, Marta, from Poland, cannot understand how the buildings have been left unfinished for up to eight years at the entrance of the estate.

Marta said: 'They should sell these houses and do them up. Judging by them it looks like the whole estate is going to be knocked. There are a heap of people who would love to live in the estate because the houses are very well made, but nobody can move in.'

She said a neighbour was told he had to move out because of a debt issue with his house.

Marta said she would be interested in purchasing one of the houses opposite her, adding that many of her colleagues at Lake Regional Medical would also love to live in the estate.

Between the large parcel of expanse to the front of the estate and the crumbling old Albatros fertiliser plant site the view is far from appealing.

'There are heaps of rats in Albatros. It's absolutely disgusting. They should make a playground for children out of it,' Marta said.

Like many residents Marta is unaware what plans the estate's owners have for the site.

In recent weeks two unfinished houses were torn down by staff from Tony Kirwan Construction. The site was levelled, while some other works were also carried out last week including clearing the dangerous advertising hoarding and making the area somewhat more presentable.

Patrick Roche bought a house in the Maple Drive part of the estate in 2014 and he said: 'It's just a ghost estate. When I bought the house there was going to be something done. There's still no lighting and we had to sign off on that.'

Mr Roche said there was regular dumping in the green area near his house, which was levelled and cleared in recent weeks, adding that horses were kept there.

'There's planning permission for 80 houses up there. There were bungalows and they were knocked down. It was a war zone.'

Mr Roche is pragmatic about his house purchase. 'I see it as a means to an end. These houses are perfect and if I had the money I'd buy another one.'

Several residents complained about the ESB pole and the expanse of wasteland to the front of the estate.

One man, who asked to remain anonymous, said: 'It's very dangerous. The houses and area at the front need to be worked on.'

Cllr Anthony Connick, who lives directly opposite the estate, said the estate was developed by vet Declan Kehoe. Waterford based Mr Kehoe declined to comment when contacted by this newspaper.

Cllr Connick said: 'Loads of the houses are empty; there are workmen's cars out the front. It's good to see a bit of activity at the back of the estate as there was a lot of illegal dumping up there.'

Cllr Connick said scaffolding around the unfinished houses was removed in 2012 after a child died in a ghost estate in Athlone, but stressed that more needs to be done.

'It's not nice for residents to be looking out at four half-built houses and all that waste ground. Why didn't the owners start by demolishing the houses at the front first? Lighting is needed in the estate. Children used to climb the advertising hoarding and throw stones onto the road. I reported it to the guards.'

He said: 'It's going to be eight years in October since they were built.'

This newspaper has learnt that the land to the rear of the estate is being sold to a local farmer, while Kilkenny County Council said it was unaware that houses were being levelled and that the site was being worked on.

Wexford People

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