The 20-metre by 15-metre site is in Stradbally, Co Waterford, which is a multiple award-winning village in the national Tidy Towns’ competition.
The picturesque coastal village is 13km west of Dungarvan. According to county councillor Liam Brazil, the untidy foliage of overgrown trees and briars on the HSE site has cost the village valuable Tidy Town marks.
Stradbally, with countless honours in environmental-related competitions, also secured a European Entente Floral gold medal in 2002.
Fine Gael’s Cllr Brazil had hoped Waterford Council would consider purchasing the site. But he said the valuation price was excessive: “The site hasn’t been used for at least 12 years and I think the HSE is being very greedy.”
A Tidy Towns spokesperson said the committee had long endeavoured to have the area tidied up and ideally would like to see a small garden there. Last month, the group acquired an estimate of €2,800 to have trees removed.
“We were aware the land belonged originally to the health board and were able to confirm it is now owned by the HSE.” The HSE confirmed the site will be sold.
Waterford Council community support officer Kevin Moynihan, who helped the Tidy Towns committee to source ownership of the land, said: “It’s of no use to the HSE. I can’t see any commercial use for it whatsoever.” Mr Moynihan said on the day he received a reply from the Registry, “by pure coincidence, HSE valuers were down looking at the piece of land”.
A HSE spokesperson said “a valuation of €10,000” was given and a re-valuation would only be considered if “a bid is submitted that is below the market valuation”.