Frustration was palpable in the chamber of Laois County Council this afternoon as two Laois housing estates have still not been ‘taken in charge’.
When planning permission is granted for a developer to build a housing estate, Laois County Council and the developer enter into a bond whereby the developer hands the council a substantial sum of money that is withheld until the development is complete.
When everything in the planning application is finished, the Council hands back the bond to the developer and assumes control of the housing estate.
And what that actually means is that the council assumes liability and responsibility for the roads, footpaths and public areas associated with a particular estate.
But two estates where, despite all of the houses being occupied, has not occurred – are in Stradbally.
Fianna Fail Cllr Paschal McEvoy raised the plight of The Orchard, opposite SuperValu, and Cil Beag Manor, just off the Carlow road, who are still waiting.
In relation to The Orchard, Senior Planner Pat Delaney said that three things remained outstanding before it could be taken in charge:
“Replacement of a hydrant cover at house No 8.
“Works to surface water manholes including benching, provision of steps, removal of silt, debris, etc.
“Replacement of footpaths to rear of house No 7 and side of house No 8.”
While in Cill Beag Manor, Mr Delaney also outlined three issues:
“Wall needs to be plastered.
“Sections of footpath need to be replaced.
“Boundary fence needs to be erected.”
Cllr McEvoy described these issues as minor and said he cannot understand why the council isn’t moving forward with this.
He said: “I have raised the Orchard Housing Estate on several occasions. The council actually purchased six of the houses in there and owns more than anyone else.
“As far as I know, the bond was returned on that estate but in any event the works outlined are hardly rocket science.
“The lights don’t work down there and it is very dark at night so I need this addressed urgently.
“As for Cill Beag Manor, this has been going on for at least five years now.
“Once again the works required are minor and I see housing estates all over the county being taken in charge so I can’t understand why more isn’t being done to get these two over the line.”
Agreeing with Cllr McEvoy, Cllr Aidan Mullins said that “the residents probably think we are doing nothing to help them.
“But here we are bringing up this issue time and time again and getting different responses. It isn’t fair.”
Engineer Adrian Barrett and Director of Service for Finance Gerry Murphy said they would have answers for the Councillors on these two estates at the next meeting.