Residents’ anger over Rathangan demolition plans

A GROUP of Rathangan residents are angry with Kildare County Council over plans to demolish 44 homes at St. Patrick’s Park to make way for 22 new houses.

A GROUP of Rathangan residents are angry with Kildare County Council over plans to demolish 44 homes at St. Patrick’s Park to make way for 22 new houses.

Some of the locals have formed a committee of concerned residents.

“We are not against change or redevelopment, but don’t label us here and say they are doing this because there is anti-social behaviour here,” said resident Emaon Broughan.

“There are vacant houses here for ten years, the council did nothing. Of course you are going to have anti-social behaviour if you board them up and leave vacant houses in a built-up area.

“There are good decent people living here for years, they raised their families and are happy here.”

He explained how residents had received leaflets asking them to relocate to other estates in the town while work was being completed.

However, he said many feared they would not be able to move back, as there will only be 22 houses to cater for the 35 households who currently live there.

“I am here over 20 years. I reared my four children here. I have my friends and neighbours here, but it’s causing friction between neighbours. It’s not right. There is a lot of confusion.

“I know one woman here who feels safe as anything here, and she is terrified because she doesn’t want to live anywhere else. We have no objection to them building new houses, but why do they have to knock down these ones? They are perfectly good houses. Why can’t they just knock down the derelict ones?” he added.

He said there had been a meeting in the library and leaflets distributed by the council, but residents were still in the dark as to when and how the work would take place. He said they had seen draft plans but very little detail and had found it hard to get concrete details from the council.

A statement from the council said: “All existing residents in St Patrick’s Park have been asked, during consultation, if they wish to be accommodated in the new St Patrick’s Park. As there are currently a number of vacant units within the estate, the proposed new build will consist of a smaller number of houses.

“If there is a need to make arrangements for temporary accommodation during future works then this will be addressed with affected residents when plans are further progressed and agreed.”

The council said the continuous consultation with residents and elected public representatives was very important and would continue.

“Meetings held to date on a ‘one-to one’ basis have been very informative and show how much the residents are looking forward to when work can start. The Council is delighted to receive the positive feedback at those meetings where draft masterplans for demolition, new build, new open spaces and remedial works were presented and discussed with residents for their feedback.”

It also pointed out that newsletters had been distributed, and said residents could call Kildare County Council and the project team would continue to be available throughout the process.

It said it had recently erected a boundary fence and cleared household waste from vacant houses and the adjacent field.

“These works, coupled with the forthcoming demolition of three vacant vandalised houses, will have a positive impact in improving the immediate living conditions for all residents,” it added.

“When this is complete, work will begin on the masterplan and residents will be invited to consult with the council on all plans in preparation of detailed drawings for planning approval.

“We are at the early stages in the planning phase and the preparation of detailed drawings, together with further technical studies and surveys, are necessary before any proposal can be published,” said the statement.

- Niamh O’Donoghue