26 Mar 2009

I don’t know the extent to which this kind of thing is happening but, I suspect, a lot. It seems that one of the consequences of the combined evils of the downturn in the economy and our disregard for planning/public administration is that overstretched developers are abandoning new housing schemes and leaving them half finished.

This one,

in the midlands, is typical of what I believe to be occurring: in this particular case about half of the forty-odd houses which the developer received planning permission for were completed before being sold at the very height of the market. But when things started to go pear shaped, all work stopped and the site was more or less abandoned leaving the following: about twenty houses occupied; a cluster of almost finished houses;

another cluster of half finished houses;

some exposed foundations for intended houses;

unfinished roads; street lights that don’t work; piles of unused timber frame walls which are now home to a large population of rats (the HSE has written a report about it);

and a storm water system which empties out onto neighbouring land which, itself, is only yards away from a cemetery.

The local Council has issued enforcement notices and so on, but I’m sure it will come as no surprise to the unfortunate residents of our housing estate when I express the opinion that it’s only a matter of weeks before some of the half finished houses, which sit unlocked and unguarded,

will be taken over by drug addicts: this, the punishment the people who bought the houses receive for mortgaging themselves to the hilt for the rest of their lives for the crime of wanting somewhere modest and respectable to raise a family.

I seem to remember a time when it was standard practise for developers to post bonds with local authorities to ensure completion of projects – whatever happened to that? has the practise stopped? are the bond amounts too small to see the projects through to completion? Or what?  What is the point of having a planning system at all if situations like this are allowed to happen? What is the actual point of hiring architects and engineers, what is the point of wasting time at meetings with mid ranking bureaucrats, generating masses of paperwork, getting into scrapes with An Bord Pleanala, and so forth if, in the end, this is all it amounts to?

Thursday, March 26, 2009 10:06:53 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Gary i know this disaster zone . you wont be surprised to hear that a local councillor is also one of the auctioneers named on the auctioneers sign on the entrance to this home of a large population of rats.( should councillors be auctioneers or should auctioneers be councillors ) the residents were told when they complained to the vendor " sure didnt you get a cheap house" it is my belief that councils dont give a toss what developers do once they get their levies and taxes they will even in some cases give back bonds to the developer in the hope that they ride away into the sunset and dissapear so that the council can blame this terrible long gone developer for all the ills of the now crumbling estate rather than take the estate in charge. believe me its a game of i will do anything but take the estate in charge by the council
cllr. séamie morris
Thursday, March 26, 2009 10:17:28 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Seamie, are you saying that Council's are returning bonds to developers rather than execute them? (the bonds I mean, not the developers)
Thursday, March 26, 2009 10:46:06 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
cllr. séamie morris
Thursday, March 26, 2009 11:03:12 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
This is typical,

I drove through the beautiful village of Ballyboughal in North County Dublin this afternoon and there is the half finished estate right in the middle of the village. It's horrific.

It is now clear that the jumbo suburban development model and the financial nexus with local authorities is dead. How can a local authority be acting in the public interest when it gets 1/3 of it's funding from levies and another 1/3 from car tax and parking charges associated with the godforsaken commuters.

As you have said it is a system run by bureaucrats who will never have to live in theses communities.

Our planning system has delivered a uniformly mediocre development model throughout the whole country based on an early 20th century model and dominated by cars. Look how much detail goes into road engineering in developments when compared to engineering for people.

It really is sick.
Friday, March 27, 2009 7:40:57 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
If you've any photos of the housing estate at Ballyboughal, send them on and I'll post them.
Sunday, March 29, 2009 8:47:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'll get some photos but it will be a couple of weeks
Wednesday, April 15, 2009 2:23:02 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
What are the options here when this type of abandonment happens?.

I have similar experiences in County Limerick.

As it appears the Council do very little in these situations what are the options for the ordinary resident/ public person?

Who is best person to tackle the unfinished works on behalf of the residents?
- Local Councillors?
- Residents Committees?
- Architect?

Thoughts anyone.......
Monday, April 27, 2009 3:13:43 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Martin, as far as I'm aware the developer is supposed to post a bond with the local authority to cover finishing costs in the event he's not in a position to do it himself. Whether or not this is still happening, I don't know. Councillors, residents committees and architects have absolutely no power or ability to help you out of the situation.
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