Councillor criticises “go-slow” developer for untrimmed estates

A local councillor has criticised the reluctance of a housing estate developer in Mullingar to attend to a recently issued enforcement order to maintain the green areas in the Ardleigh and Ardilaun estates as agreed.

Cllr Ken Glynn was raising the concerns of residents about the unkempt condition of the play areas in the estates at this week’s meeting of Mullingar area councillors, and the fact that the developer, Kildare native John Connolly, was obliged to maintain them in line with his planning permission.

At the meeting the council confirmed that the developer of these two estates off the C-Link road has been served with an enforcement order to comply with his responsibilities concerning the maintenance of the green areas there.

“This has been a particular issue with this development for the past two years... and the council has not been satisfied with the progress on this development,” said county manager Danny McLoughlin in reply to Cllr Ken Glynn.

“Mr Connolly [the developer] has decided to go on one of his go-slows up in Ardleigh and Ardilaun. It’s not happening and it’s not fair,” said Cllr Glynn.

“This has been going on and going on and I welcome this enforcement order. He took a lot of money from a lot of people up there and he’s still in business,” continued Cllr Glynn.

“If he’s still in business, why can’t he cut the grass? Even if he provided a machine for the residents. I’m appealing publicly that he go in and do the first cut. The ball is firmly in the developer’s court.” Cllr Glynn was supported in this by Cllrs Detty Cornally and Johnnie Penrose on this issue.

The vexed question of such limbo estates and how the county council might enforce outstanding work within them exercised at least five of the members at this week’s meeting.

In response to numerous complaints from constituents, the estates of Ardleigh/Ardilaun and Lakepoint in Mullingar, along with Forest View in Rathconrath have all gone to the top of the in-tray at the council’s legal and enforcement section after Cllrs Johnnie Penrose, Robert Troy, Mick Dollard, and Denis Leonard joined with Cllr Glynn in bringing them up in various questions and motions.

For the residents, the question of by whom and when the infrastructure of an estate is “taken in charge” has been a problem growing in line with the recession.

Issues like who has final responsibility for sewerage, drainage, landscaping, paving and street lighting have been knocked tennis ball-like between the developers of the estates and the council in recent years.

Cllr Penrose and Cllr Robert Troy enquired as to the state of play with Forest View in Rathconrath and were told that a recent enforcement order on the developer from the council’s legal department had “resolved a number of outstanding issues including the wearing course [road surface], traffic calming, and the placement of a wastewater treatment plant”, according to the county manager.

“However, there are still outstanding issues in relation to the operation of this treatment plant and its boundary and these matters are under consideration by the legal and enforcement section,” said Mr McLoughlin.

Cllr Robert Troy suggested the developer’s deposit bond be used to finish this work but was told by Mr McLoughlin that he wasn’t sure if this was enough money in the bond to cover the work required, and that it would be more prudent from the council’s point of view to enforce the work required in line with previous agreements.

Cllr Mick Dollard put forward a motion seeking “a full and comprehensive planning history of Lakepoint”, the 600-house estate between the Delvin and Dublin roads.

The council’s reply gave a potted history of the taking-in-charge process since April 2008, when the first application to do so was received from developers Daracom.

At the moment, the revised CCTV surveys of the estate, received on April 9, are being checked, while the latest snag check was to be carried out this week.

“The full report on taking in charge of housing estates will be on the agenda for the July area meeting,” Cllr Dollard was told.

Finally, Cllr Denis Leonard suggested the council’s legal department should meet with residents’ associations to collect a list of gripes about unfinished neighbourhoods and was told “The legal and enforcement section is conducting compliance checks on all estates and is taking action where appropriate”.

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