Wexford Co. Council Meeting Round-Up 01/10/17 : the chronicle.ie

Wexford Co. Council Meeting Round-Up 01/10/17

| October 1, 2017

Unease over plans for more traveller homes in Barntown

Some members of Wexford Borough District Council have expressed unease over a proposal to build three three-bedroomed houses for traveller accommodation on Council lands at Ballyhine near Larkin’s Cross in Barntown.

The plan is being brought forward to house  members of an extended traveller family who are currently living in temporary accommodation in Brendan Corish Gardens in Wexford town.

The Council’s Head of Housing, Padraig O’Gorman, attended the July meeting of the Borough District to present the plans. The proposal is to build the houses on Council owned lands beside the current Pike View Estate which was originally build to house travellers in the 1980s.

However, over the years the number of traveller families in the estate has fallen and just eight of the thirty two houses there now house traveller families, Mr O’Gorman told councillors.

A community facility which was provided as part of the original development is currently idle and boarded up.

The plan will go to public consultation next and by the time it clears other hurdles construction is not likely to begin until late 2018 at the earliest.

Cllr. Deirdre Wadding fully supported the proposal and called on her colleagues to back it.

But others expressed reservations with Barntown based councillor Tony Dempsey, who said he was all for housing travellers, expressing concern about the concentration of travellers in the area and he warned of the danger of creating ghettoism.

Mayor Jim Moore said it would be important as part of any plan to have the details of support services which are to be provided before anything went to public consultation and Cllr. Ger Carthy questioned whether or not the family concerned would actually be prepared to take up the houses once they were constructed.

The Housing Boss said he had discussions with the family concerned the previous week and they had indicated they would accept the houses in this location.

Cllr. Deirdre Wadding asked her colleagues not to overstate the potential problems associated with the plan.

But Cllr. Dempsey said a lot more talking would have to be done in advance of anything being finalised.

The members agreed to allow the proposal to go to the next stage and public consultation will now follow.


New rules to limit number of Civic Receptions

The Wexford Borough District Council has tightened the rules over the granting of Civic Receptions following concerns that the number and scale of receptions was spiralling out of control.

The Council’s Protocol Committee has now decided, with the backing of the full District Council, that such receptions will in future only be afforded to people achieving an International Award and others as decided at the discretion of the Mayor and Members of the Protocol Committee.

And following concerns over the number of people turning up for receptions in the past the committee has also decided that attendance numbers at the receptions will be limited to a maximum of 25/30.

In the case of sporting organisations and other groups it was agreed to limit the affording of civic receptions to mark 50, 75 and 100 year milestones.

The Mayor of the day will continue to honour individuals and organisations through the granting of Mayoral Receptions.

While councillors approved the changes Cllr, Davy Hynes said members should have an input into the granting of receptions.

Cllr. George Lawlor said it was important that people understood the criteria which now applied to the granting of Civic Receptions.


‘Unsuitable’ Deputy Mayor’s Chain to be replaced

Deputy Mayors of Wexford Borough District have not been a happy group in recent years. it has been revealed.

The problem has not been the workload or the treatment of the Deputy by the Mayor of the day. The difficulties have all to do with the Deputy Mayor’s Chair which has been in existence since 1985.

Recent Deputy Mayors have privately been very critical of the Chain which was provided to the old Wexford Corporation by the Bank of Ireland thirty two years ago.

Some have suggested that the Chain makes them look more like winners in a Community Games competition than representatives of the Council when they attend functions.

Current Deputy Mayor Ger Carthy has been particularly critical of the Chain but a meeting of the Protocol Committee of the Borough District Council heard that previous Deputy Mayors had also made representations on the question of the Chain.

Now Town Sergeant Kevin Sheil has been tasked with finding a replacement and he has been in discussion with a local jewellers with regard to the options to redesign the existing chain and to recycle the silver in the making of a new chain.

The Town Sergeant presented committee members with costings and a proposed design. Members of the committee have now agreed to incorporate the ‘The Three Burning Ships’ and the logo ‘Per Aquam et Ignem’ into the design.

And Protocol Committee members decided to ask Bank of Ireland, sponsors of the current chain, if they are interested in sponsoring its replacement.


HAP scheme criticised

 The Housing Assistance Payments (HAP) scheme, which is a key part of the Co. Council’s strategy to deal with the housing crises has been dismissed as not being a long term solution to the problem and just another name for rent allowance.

The criticism came from Cllr. Deirdre Wadding at a meeting of the Wexford Borough District Council following a detailed presentation by the Council’s Head of Housing, Padraig O’Gorman.

With more than 1,000 families being housed under the scheme it is the main provider of social housing in the county.

However, a problem for the HAP scheme is that the payments cap imposed by the Housing Department means that the money available is not sufficient for people to rent homes in North Wexford and in the Wexford urban area where rents are higher than in the rest of the county.


Council finally takes over housing estates

The long wait for residents for their estates to be taken-in-charge has finally come to an end for those living in several estates in the Wexford District with fourteen estates taken-in charge by the local authority from last week.

And for many it has been a marathon battle with some estates built more than thirty years ago only now being taken over. The delays were caused by various problems with infrastructure in the estates.

However, while the taking in charge is good news for the residents it will not provide an instant solution for all their problems. Director of Services Tony Larkin explained that these estates would have to compete with all other areas when it came to funding for infrastructural repairs.

The estates on the list included Westlands, Summerhill Heights, McClure Meadows, Bishop’s Park, Slaney Woods and Spawell Close.


Mount George CCTV demand

Residents in Mount George in the centre of Wexford town want the local council to provide CCTV coverage in their estate in a bid to combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

The residents prepared a petition demanding action following recent incidents and it was handed to the Mayor, Cllr. Jim Moore, by councillor Davy Hynes, at a meeting of the Wexford borough District Council.

The matter is now to be examined by council officials.


Little chance of ‘hard’ water supply being shut down

There is no prospect of the Fardystown Water Scheme being closed down as a source of supply for Wexford town despite its ‘hardness’ causing serious problems for households who are supplied with it.

For years people have complained about the scale of damage caused by the water to domestic appliances with people having to replace showers, washing machines and kettles on a regular basis as a result of the damage caused by the water.

Cllr. George Lawlor said the scheme needed to be shut down giving the example of one man who had to replace his shower eleven times.

However, council engineer Gerry Forde, who worked in the area of water for the Council before the service was moved to Irish Water, said there was no other source of water in the South Wexford area and he indicated that improving the quality of the supply would probably not be a priority for Irish Water given that the water currently being supplied was perfectly safe and healthy and was a secure supply.

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