Oranhill residents battle to fill 'crater'
Residents of a housing estate in Oranmore are agitating to get a massive hole in the estate filled as a matter of urgency.
Homeowners in the Oranhill housing estate held a crisis meeting on Monday night to discuss the next step of their campaign to have a large crater in the estate filled and further steps taken to secure the safety of the area.
The hole in the Maree Road estate was excavated in April 2007 in advance of the building of a retail development that was to house a crèche, a doctor’s surgery and other units.
However, works on the development ceased towards the end of 2007 and the hole has been left unfilled ever since, leading to concern by local families as to the safety of the estate.
Residents are uncertain as to whether the site is still owned by Ronnie Greene, who was involved in the development of the estate with Tom Considine and Paddy Sweeney, or if it has now been taken in hand by the National Asset Management Agency (Nama).
However, records obtained by the Galway Independent from the Planning Department of Galway County Council show that an extension of planning permission for the construction project was awarded to ‘R.G. Greene, P Sweeney and T Considine’ on 16 May 2011.
Gráinne Cotter of Oranhill Residents’ Association said that numerous attempts have been made to contact Mr Greene to clarify the situation but to no avail.
The residents are now in the process of forming a number of action groups in an attempt to see how they could progress the works themselves.
“There are about 300 units in the estate and a large amount of those are occupied by families so it’s a very dangerous environment. There is about 20ft of water in that crater and the major risk is that we would have another situation like what happened in Athlone recently. There is some wooden hoarding and chicken wire up at the moment but any inquisitive 12-year-old would have no problem getting in there,” said Ms Cotter.
Ms Cotter said that the crater was also at the corner of a sharp bend and that motorists could be in danger of their car going straight into the hole if they lost control of their car.
Ms Cotter, who has three young children, added that local families are becoming increasingly frustrated at the situation, which has now been going on for almost four years.
When contacted by the Galway Independent, Mr Greene refused to clarify whether the site was still in his ownership.