VANDALS, targeting a disused factory site in Strabane, are making life miserable for residents living nearby. Michele Canning looks into the problem
Once home to hosiery giant, Adria, the 11.5 acre Beechmount Avenue site has lain derelict since the collapse of the town’s manufacturing industry in 2006.
Today, the detritus of illegality – dumping, underage outdoor drinking and vandalism – is a daily eyesore for local residents.
Pensioner Colm McGrath’s home at Ashgrove Park backs onto the site, where he spent most of his working life. He has erected an eight-foot fence to keep vandals out.
“I have had my windows broken twice. It never stops. I have spoken to the council, the landowner and the police. Nothing has been done. There are a lot of pensioners living in this park and they are afraid,” he said.
Resident Patrick Devine, said: “It’s like an open air pub over there. We are tortured with stone throwers. I was hit on the face by a youth trespassing on the site.”
Beechmount Developments bought the site in 2006. Developer, Kevin Crumley said he is “fighting a losing battle” with vandals.
“We have had the site secured on a number of occasions but each time the work has been undone. The only way to rectify this is to get the site redeveloped.”
Mr Crumley has been unable to build there after twice being refused planning permission.
“The site is worth maybe one quarter of what was paid for it. The only way to salvage anything and eradicate this eyesore is to develop the site.”
Paddy Cosgrove, chief environmental health officer at Strabane Council, said the local authority does not have responsibility for the site.
“I would appeal to people not to abuse the site and to get in touch with the owner if they have any issues.”