No end in sight for Longford's unfinished housing estates

Longford County Council has set aside funding to go towards tackling the estimated 90 unfinished housing estates, as part of a nationwide plan to complete developments that were started in recent years. However one local councillor claims the funding is simply not sufficient.

Longford County Council has set aside funding to go towards tackling the estimated 90 unfinished housing estates, as part of a nationwide plan to complete developments that were started in recent years. However one local councillor claims the funding is simply not sufficient.

Following the publication of the nationwide survey of unfinished housing estates in October last year, the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government established an Advisory Group on Unfinished Housing Developments.

In its report in early December, the group published its draft guidance manual for managing and resolving unfinished housing developments, where it said local authorities should "implement a range of powers available to them under planning, building control and other relevant legislation in an integrated way and will work pro-actively with developers, financial institutions and local communities in securing the satisfactory resolution of housing developments and in addressing the specific problems that can arise with housing developments that appear to have been abandoned".

In the adopted estimates for the year to come, the council has set aside €221,782, plus €68,754 in service support costs, to deal with the unfinished estates - almost five times the amount allocated in 2010.

The amount, however, is a fraction of the estimated €3m to €4m cost required to deal with the scores of estates that area left unfinished by developers in Longford, and will only some of the issues.

"It is very clear from the figures of the county council that those in the unfinished estates who are hoping that their estates might be dealt with this year will certainly be waiting a lot longer than 12 months," said Cllr Mae Sexton, speaking to the Leader.

"The kind of money that has been provided in the estimates is hugely inadequate," said Cllr Sexton.

"Funding must be found to finish the estates where people have invested heavily," she added "and the Department must make funding available.

"With unfinished sewerage, water, lighting and unsafe part-built dwellings posing a huge risk to Health and Safety the Local Authority and the Department of the Environment have a duty and responsibility to ensure the matter is dealt with speedily," she added.