Councillor John Dolan called on the County Council to take charge of Kilcleagh estate, Castledaly, at this week’s Athlone Municipal District meeting, only to be told such a scenario will not happen in the near future.
Councillor Dolan voiced his sympathy for the contractor that built the estate, who he says has done everything to the letter of the law but is still saddled with the cost of maintaining it: “Everything has been done as per planning permission,” Dolan said. “In fairness to the builders who developed the estate, they have been there through thick and thin and have it up to standard. “I was looking to get the council to take charge of the estate. Unfotunately, I have been told that the council can’t do this, mainly due to national protocols that won’t allow it.”
The issue is that the sewerage and water systems in the estate are both private. The water is supplied by a communal well and the sewrege through a communal system in the estate. Such systems would cost quiet a bit to maintain. The complication is that it is Irish Water who will be taking the sewrege and water systems in charge. There is a fear that if the council commits to managing the estate now, Irish Water might not take it on board later, leaving the council economically liable.
“There is a lot of these estates on the western seaboard apparently,” Councillor Dolan said. “There is three in Westmeath alone. Until there is clear direction from the central government as regards what to do in this situation, unfortunately, Castledaly won’t be taken in charge.
“It is a little bit hard on a builder who has done everything right and has fulfilled the terms of their planning permission. They are being caught in this situation through no fault of their own, and that is the main issue. It is an issue I will be taking further up the line to the relevant ministers because we really need clarity on this. I am sure that if we have three such estates in Westmeath, it must be a national problem as well.
“I am sure there is many estates around the country that have been built to a high standard just like this, and it is really unfair that the builder is being caught like this. Being realistic, this issue could drag on for years. We all know the way these things work. We just need to keep putting pressure on people further up the chain to free up the council’s hand on this.”