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Action needed on Taking in Charge of Housing Estates – Cllr. Martin Lonergan

Independent Tipperary County Councillor for Clonmel/Cahir Borough District, Martin Lonergan is calling on Tipperary County Council to establish a new Special Policy Committee (SPC) with direct responsibility for the Taking in Charge process of private housing estates by the Local Authority.

His call comes after numerous estates in the Clonmel/Cahir Borough District, who have Residents Associations and Committees in place and are in the process of having their Taking in Charge applications processed, have again received correspondence from Electric Ireland that electricity supply to public lighting and indeed sewerage treatment systems is to be discontinued due to lack of payment of bills on the Developers/Management Committees and indeed Receivers side of things.

Commenting Cllr Lonergan stated, “Normally, once estates are completed to standard, developers or up to 51% of home owner residents apply to the Local Authority to take over the future maintenance of roads and footpaths, street lights and other services such as water and wastewater but where proper standards are not met, the process can be delayed by years, and this is where the issue is.

There are many estates across the Borough District which are in need to be taken in charge on a progressive basis to clear up uncertainty for residents concerned about who is going to keep street lights operating and maintained, fix the roads and footpaths and maintaining water and waste water services. Unfortunately, many of the developers have disappeared or gone bust and do not take responsibility for what needs to be done and now we need to step back and look at options to progress the tackling of our unfinished estates and the legacy of the financial and construction collapse.

I believe that every resident in a housing estate should have certainty about who is ultimately responsible for the maintenance of, as I said before the roads, streetlights, footpaths and water services outside their door. Unfortunately, as we stand, residents currently have no timetable for when their estate is going to be taken in charge or even if it is on a list. These people, in many instances paid a lot of money towards purchasing their new home with the aspiration that all services would be provided and that a new community could be established.”

Councillor Lonergan continued, “As an Elected Member, I am inundated with concerns from residents associations who have, in the first instance, applied to the Local Authority under the taking in charge process to have their estates taken under charge. In all instances, these people, many new families, have purchased houses at great expense, with the hope of having a home and community they can be proud off. They are now in a time of uncertainty. Therefore, I am calling on the establishment of a new cross party SPC, a Special Policy Committee of the Local Authority with the sole responsibility of Taking in Charge of estates to include the Planning Department, Housing Department and Environment Department to report to each monthly meeting of the County Council with a progress update.”

Concluding Cllr Lonergan added, “I want to acknowledge the work of the Planning Directorate of the County Council who have been trying to progress this issue to date. I also want to acknowledge the work of various Residents Committees who have stepped up to the mark and who continue, in some instances out of their own resources and have committed to the upkeep of their estates. I also fully acknowledge the complexity of the issues in estates and indeed the costs involved but, now we need to be progressive and once and for all have a policy in place which can, with the help of a new SPC, finally address this issue across the District. We owe it to those individuals and families who purchased houses in the expectation that all services would be provided, where in essence a new community could be formed."