Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Penrose calls for council development for Ballynacargy

Cllr Johnie Penrose’s request for the council to buy land in Ballynacargy, to build housing was somewhat tempered by the Chief Executive of Westmeath County Council, Barry Kehoe.

Speaking at the first council election of the newly elected council at Áras an Chontae, Mullingar, on Friday, 21 June, Cllr Penrose asked: “What is the position within the council and the new executive as regards to purchasing land for houses?

“I am talking about small villages throughout the Moate district. I travelled a good bit throughout the area during the election time and I have noticed, especially in Ballynacargy, there has not been a social house built in the last 30 years.”

The Labour representative continued: “The school is losing 16 pupils this year and there is a danger that we will lose a couple of teachers in it, for the lack of housing.”

A particular piece of land within Ballynacargy was mentioned by Cllr Penrose as an example for what the council should look into purchasing and he urged the Chief Executive to “try and purchase the land and build social, affordable and private housing. That is very important that we look at that this year.”

Party colleague, Cllr Denis Leonard supported Cllr Penrose, as he stated: “There has hardly been a house built in many of our rural towns since 2007, either affordable, social or private.

“We are losing schools, small shops and towns are no longer becoming sustainable.

“If we are going to survive in rural Ireland, we can not be building the amount we are building in Mullingar and Athlone to the exclusion of rural areas. There has to be some balance.”

Open to small schemes

Westmeath County Council’s Chief Executive, Barry Kehoe, responded: “We have a limited capital team. We are open to schemes in the various small villages where there is a need. There is a need, not a huge need but a need at the same time.

“Our capital resources to deliver projects are tied up at the minute, so buying land would probably mean that that land will sit there for a while until we get around to it because we have a capital backlog to deal with in terms of all the other projects.

“If there is small schemes, we certainly would be open to it.”

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