Westmeath County Council’s cul-de-sac policy is effectively heading down a cul-de-sac of its own because councillors believe it is not fit for purpose.
Several motions and questions raised at the Mullingar Area meeting this week related to essential repairs to improve cul-de-sacs but replies from the council indicated that there is no money for cul-de-sac works.
On private cul-de-sacs Mr Hogan agreed that the council will consider providing materials to fill potholes only on condition that this is done on the understanding that the road is private, or in other words, not the council’s responsibility.
He made this commitment regarding a cul-de-sac at Balreagh following a question put forward by Councillor Aidan Davitt who said one of the local residents is a contractor and is happy to do the work himself if he gets the materials.
However, the same policy can’t be extended to public roads because the works must reach the council’s standards and must be overseen by the council.
There is no funding for the work Cllr Mick Dollard wants done on the L5027 at Heathstown, Killucan and none for the work Cllr Avril Whitney requested at Clondardis Road, Walshestown.
In an ideal world all taxpayers should be treated equally, she said wryly.
But it was the Quinera Boreen repairs proposed by Cllrs Denis Leonard and Peter Burke that prompted the greatest discussion.
Cllr Leonard said cul-de-sacs are not an exact science and some have many residents while other through roads have only one or two families living on them.
Quinera’s surfacing problems are at the entrance and affect all of the large number of people who live on the road, he said.
He said they all pay taxes and that the Government must keep the roads in a condition where people can travel on them.
Cllr Burke’s request for a load of filling for residents to improve the road was turned down because it is a public road and the issue of liability arises, Mr Hogan said.
He agreed to take the councillors’ concerns on board and accepted that it is hard to apply a single rule to every cul-de-sac.
He suggested the council refer what he expects to be the ongoing issue of cul-de-sacs to the Roads SPC because “we need a policy, bearing in mind the restriction on resources”.
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Burke was unimpressed, saying all residents are taxpayers and have every right to have their roads resurfaced.
Sending the issue to an SPC was “like a case of Yes, Minister - how much policy do you need in place to fill a pothole? It’s very straightforward.”
Cul-de-sacs will have to feature in the budget estimates and money will have to be found, he said.