There are 29 housing estates classified as ‘unfinished’ in the National Survey of Unfinished Housing Developments (December 2014 update) in County Louth. However, this list does not include estates or developments that have been completed but have not been ‘taken in charge’ which means they are being forced to pay the Local Property Tax but are unable to access services for the development.
Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood explained what this meant. “Take for example Beaulieu View which was built as far back as 1992. The Council have confirmed to me that an application was never received by the developer to have the estate ‘taken in charge’. What this means is if for example a street light goes out it’s usually a very simple process of ringing ESB and giving them the pole number, they come out and fix it. But for an estate that has not been taken in charge, it is the responsibility of the residents albeit through a management company paid for by the residents to foot the bill before it can be fixed.”
Kenneth Flood explained how, in the case of Beaulieu View all efforts to track down the developer have been fruitless. “After the so-called Celtic Tiger era we were told many of the developers went bust so we have a generation of home-owners who are paying this tax on their home but are unable to access basic maintenance services”.
Cllr Imelda Munster, who is a candidate in the upcoming election and is a member of the Corporate Policy Group on Louth County Council brought forward a motion that all developments like Beaulieu View across the county of Louth should be categorised and listed. Cllr Munster also asked the Council to commit to a plebiscite schedule for all these developments to ensure they have an opportunity to be taken in charge.
Cllr Flood said “I am delighted to say the council have agreed the motion and the required report will be included under planning in the Chief Executives Report to the March monthly meeting of the Council. There are developments in this county going back 40 years that were never taken in charge. For decades tax payers were paying for services they could not access. But now we have the commitment for the plebiscite schedule for all of these developments to ensure they have an opportunity to be taken in charge, we can get to work bringing all of these housing developments finally under the care of the council”.