Kilkenny's rundown Hebron House may face levy as council takes action

A sign has been erected at the house informing owner it is to be placed on Vacant Sites Register

Sam Matthews

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Sam Matthews

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sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

KILKENNY

Addressing the owner, it sets out that the site is considered to be vacant under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015.

The owner of the long-vacant and boarded up house at Hebron, just off the ring road in Kilkenny City may now face having to pay a Vacant Sites Levy on the site from next year.

Kilkenny County Council erected a notice at Hebron House, Blanchfieldsland last week. Addressing the owner, it sets out that the site is considered to be vacant under the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015. The owner has 28 days to make a submission to the council, and if the site is then entered onto the Vacant Sites Register, the owner may still appeal this to An Bord Pleanala.

Cllr Andrew McGuinness, who has repeatedly raised concerns over the property, has welcomed this latest development.

"Following my representations, Kilkenny County Council have taken the appropriate action under the Housing Act 2015, regarding the responsibility of the owners of the property. The owners now have an opportunity to respond," he said.

However, the Fianna Fail councillor says this is only one part of the issue.

“The other side of it is the fact that the property is being used illegally to house a large number of horses, far too many for the size of the area, and it has been used for the illegal dumping of rubbish with an astonishing amount of it filling the property," he said.

"Then of course there is the health and safety issue regarding young children walking horses across a busy main road to enter the site, posing a danger to themselves, the horses and the road users.

“This blatant misuse of the property is happening in broad daylight and is, in my view, an absolute priority in dealing with this case. Those involved should be stopped and prosecuted as there has been ample warning. The owners may be responsible for the property, but they are not responsible for the illegal actions of other individuals. Enough is enough.”