The saga for the takeover of Castlefield Manor estate in Ballina was described by one town councillor as “like a fairy tale, how we’ve got here I don’t know” this week. Town engineer Orla Bourke gave a potted history of the estate to the members to bring them up to date on the current situation. She outlined that between 1990 and 1994 planning permission was given for 87 houses including Castlefield Grove by Mayo County Council. In 1998 it was considered substantially completed and Mayo County Council gave 90 per cent of the bond back to the developer. The 10 per cent was held back so that ‘substantial completion’ was certified by Mayo County Council Water Services. In 2001 the estate came under the functional authority of Ballina Town Council after a redrawing of council boundaries. In 2005 a survey of the sewer network showed deficiencies in the system, and a 2007 CCTV survey of the storm water network also showed deficiencies. In 2009 the developer Belleek Construction Ltd, met with and wrote to Ballina Town Council asking for the estate to be taken over. Some work was carried out after the meeting, on the entrance to the estate and the installation of a bulk water meter. But the work did not bring the estate up to the standard to be taken over. The council met recently again with the developer, but there has been no commitment given by the developer to complete the work, bar his contacting the pavement contractor who carried out work in 2009 on the entrance that has deteriorated severely in the past three years.
Outlining the cost of bringing the estate up to standard, Ms Bourke said it would cost €75,900 for road repairs, €2,000 for footpath repairs, €5,000 for green areas, €13,200 for surface water drainage, €26,900 for work on sewers, and €2,000 required for lighting work, which adds up to a total of €125,000.