A recent motion by Cllr Noel Connolly, discussed at the November meeting of Kildare-Newbridge MD, called on the council to begin a compulsory purchase order (CPO) process on the vacant buildings on both sides of Dublin Street in Monasterevin ‘with a view to bringing them into productive use’.
One written report in response to the motion explained that ‘currently the priority for the Vacant Homes Office is housing that can be turned around as quickly as possible for use as social housing. These buildings would constitute a substantial project and while it is agreed that it would certainly be positive to see these buildings brought back into use, a compulsory purchase order of these properties is not possible at present’.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Connolly said that there needs to be more done to ensure these buildings are brought back into use.
Cllr Mark Stafford suggested the carrot rather than stick approach.
Mayor Kevin Duffy, meanwhile, said that the landowners are committed to working with the council.
District Manager Joe Boland described CPO as a last resort and said that they need to be cautious from the point of view of financial governance. He added that they have been engaging with the owners and that it’s going in the right direction.
Another, broader report noted that, during 2020, survey work was undertaken on a number of sites throughout Kildare, including Monasterevin, to determine whether they were considered vacant in accordance with Part 2 of the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015, as amended with respect to the Vacant Site Levy.
Section 7(1) notices are currently being issued with regard to a number of sites, including some located along Dublin Street in Monasterevin.
‘Separately, the Strategic Projects and Public Realm team made successful funding applications to both the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund and the Town and Village Renewal Scheme in 2018. The Paul Hogarth Company were subsequently appointed to prepare a healthcheck and masterplan for Monasterevin town centre on behalf of Kildare County Council. This funding will serve to develop and bring to “shovel ready” stage a number of public realm interventions arising out of this masterplan to regenerate the town centre of Monasterevin,’ the report stated.
‘Initial public consultation was carried out by way of a questionnaire, a public workshop event and stakeholder/landowner engagement in 2019 and the urban design and spatial analysis stage of the masterplan has since been completed. The next stage of the masterplan will comprise concept and design proposals. It is intended to launch an online public consultation before the end of… November to further inform and shape the process. It is envisaged that the masterplan will be completed in Q2 of 2021.
‘Kildare County Council along with the Paul Hogarth Company have engaged closely with local property owners within the town centre throughout this masterplan process and will continue to do so.’