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Council says it's not demolishing housing estate to facilitate private development

Residents are angry that the council is pushing forward with a plan like this in the middle of a housing crisis.

Updated 5.21pm

KILDARE COUNTY COUNCIL has denied rumours that its intention to demolish and then rebuild a council estate is because of plans to develop neighbouring lands.

Residents at the St Patrick’s Park estate in Rathangan are outraged at plans to demolish 44 homes and construct 23 new houses in their place.

Eamon Broughan heads up a residents group that opposes the project. He has been renting his council house for 35 years and has no intention of leaving.

He said discussion about this plan has been going on for ten years but he finds it “ridiculous” that the council would demolish and rebuild an estate amid a housing crisis.

Regeneration

“We’ve been fighting terribly with them [the council] over the homelessness crisis. Why do they want to knock down my house and build another when we have children sleeping on the streets?” said Broughan.

Residents in the houses have been offered alternative housing ,with the option of moving back to the Rathangan estate once it is regenerated.

However, rumours that the council plans to build an access road to a field earmarked for private development after demolition have caused controversy. Kfm reports officials confirmed 15 private homes will also be included in the regeneration of the estate.

This access road rumour is one the council denies and in a statement to TheJournal.ie it said there are currently no plans to develop the neighbouring lands.

It said the approval of regeneration was “sanctioned based on a design analysis of the estate which demonstrated issues primarily due to the layout of the estate, the lack of passive surveillance over the public realm, and insecure back garden walls with unsupervised rear access”.

“The proposed new build design seeks to deliver an estate that is clean, safe and secure for all residents, with the layout re-designed to provide continuous passive surveillance of the public realm and a new open space to comply with current development standards.

 Historically, St Patrick’s Park has had issues with antisocial behaviour and the proposed works also seeks to address the poor image associated with the estate.

Broughan disputes claims of excessive anti-social  behaviour in the area. He told us that apart from the usual disagreements between neighbours and occasional trouble with youths he has not experienced incidents that merit demolishing a housing estate in his 30+ years living there.

I’ve checked Kildare County Council’s policy on anti-social behaviour and nowhere did it say they would knock down people’s homes and rebuild them. Otherwise we’d all be fighting with our neighbours!

Campaign launched

A budget of almost €7 million was approved in principle for the project in 2011.

Residents who wish to remain in their homes have launched a campaign to try to force local politicians to support their cause.

“We’re raised our families here and it’s always been a fully functioning estate,” Broughan said. “There was never anything wrong with it.”

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