Friday 16 November 2018

Small estates abandoned by Irish Water

Cllr JOHN FLEMING said residents in small housing estates across the county are being left in limbo because Irish Water will not invest money in fixing sewerage problems in their estates.

Cllr Fleming said some of the residents who have been trying to sell thier homes have been unable to because of the lack of movement by Irish Water.

Director of Services for Planning and Economic Development Tony Larkin said the issue is being discussed at national level but no solution has been forthcoming. Cllr Fleming said he was not satisfiued by the reponse.

'These are people who are trying to sell their house. It's not something that can be left in limbo.'

He asked for an update on the situation at the April council meeting. Cllr George Lawlor seconded the motion. Mr Larkin said he does not expect any solutions to emerge over the coming weeks.

Mr Larkin said: 'We have sorted 97 per cent of unfinished estates. 3 per cent have developer led infrastructure. They are caught in a lacuna where we can't take them in charge and it's sitting with the developers. I have taken legal advice. '97 per cent of the unfinished housing estates have been fixed up and there are 14 or 15 that are troublesome. Irish Water won't take them in charge.'

Cllr Fleming asked if the council can undertake to take these estates in charge as an interim measure.

Mr Larkin said the council has assisted residents and advised them. 'Many of the residents are not collaborating. They need to put a few bob in the kitty and keep the wastewater system maintained. In many estates residents don't want to work collectively.'

Cllr Michael Whelan said: 'It's not just about selling the house, it's about living in the housing estate as well. Some of the residents are facing management fees of over €1,000 a year and they have too much on them (already). Someone has to hold Irish Water to ransom. They have them start treating people with some dignity.'

Cllr Lisa McDonald said the council should use bonds which are in place for estates to resolve sewerage issues.

'Are we looking at the bonds before they disappear into perpetuity; bonds we are holding from builders who have gone bust. We will be here in 100 years and even if they aren't covering what they were meant to but they could cover something. It's our money and it's sitting in a bank acount.'

Mr Larkin said the council can renovate sewerage systems in estates 'but who maintains them going forward?'

'We can't take them in charge. There is a nation level negotiation going on and Irish Water are looking at a couple of estates on a pilot scheme basis. I would hope it will lead to something. We are acting as a planning authority to put everything right but we can't act as a water authority.'

Wexford People

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