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‘Eyesore’ in Laois town ‘would not be tolerated anywhere else in the county’

Old AIB building on Main Street in Portarlington

The issue of derelict building that has been described as ‘an eyesore that would not be tolerated anywhere else in the county’ has come before Laois County Council.

Sinn Fein Cllr Aidan Mullins described the old AIB Bank building on main street in Portarlington as like something you would see ‘in a deserted village on the side of a mountain’.

Cllr Mullins called on Laois County Council to take necessary enforcement action over this derelict site.

He said: “This site has been the subject of a number of notice of motion from me over a number of years and little or no action has been taken.”

In reply, Angela McEvoy, Director of Services, said: “A review of all derelict sites within Portarlington town is currently underway.

“The Planning Authority will be liaising with all owners of derelict sites in the next two weeks to ascertain works to be done and timeline associated.

“In relation to AIB Bank on main street, planning permission was granted on November 18 2019 for a change of use of the vacant AIB Bank and the adjacent vacant house.

“These will be changed to apartments, comprised of two 2-bedroom apartments, three 1-bedroom apartments and two studio apartments in the house.

“(Also) The construction of a new three storey apartment block containing three 2-bedroom apartments and associated site works.

“The development works will include the demolition of a single storey rear extension and two-storey return, the reconstruction of a collapsed section to the rear of the house, general restoration and conservation works to the bank and house.”

But Cllr Mullins said that the planning application is meaningless if, almost a year after it has been granted, nothing has happened on the site.

He said: “Owners of these sites should not be allowed to get away with this for such a length of time.

“We have another derelict building just like this at the corner of Foxcroft Street.

“It isn’t good enough that we keep having to bring up these issues here in the chamber and nothing is being done.

“I am calling on the council to use their enforcement powers immediately and move this on.”

SEE ALSO – Stinger device needed to deflate tyres of dangerous driver in Laois town while Gardai appeal for information as Dunnes Stores broken into

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Stradbally native Alan Hartnett is a graduate of Knockbeg College who has worked in the local and national media since 2008. Alan has a BA in Economics, Politics and Law and an MA in Journalism from DCU. His happiest moment was when Jody Dillon scored THAT goal in the Laois senior football final in 2016.