Many of the housing developments built during the boom years will be taken in charge by Westmeath County Council over the next year.
At the May meeting of the council, held on Monday May 29, councillors approved the taking in charge of three housing developments, Beechpark and Cois Lene in Collinstown and Woodville in Athlone.
Speaking at the meeting, director of services Barry Kehoe said that those estates were the first that have been taken in charge by the council in the last three years.
However, he also revealed that the council has begun the taking in charge process on a further 31 estates.
Mr Kehoe said that construction work on many of those estates began during the boom years and when the crash occurred, it came to a “shuddering halt”.
Getting many of these developments to the stage where the council can take control of their infrastructure and public areas took a significant amount of work from council staff, as, depending on the estate, they had to liaise with developers, banks or receivers.
“Significant progress has been made and we do hope to take most of the estates in charge later this year or by early 2018. Each estate represents a story and a difficult story at that,” he said.
Mr Kehoe said that the developers of the estates that are currently in the process of being taken in charge have a snag list “of issues that need to be resolved”. Once the snag list is complete, the council can complete the process.
Councillors from all parties welcomed the news that so many estates would be taken in charge in the near future.
Cllrs Johnny Penrose and Ken Glynn noted that while they were happy that the completed section of Belvedere Hills in Mullingar is being taken in charge, something needs to be done about the 20 unfinished houses in the estate, as they are an eyesore.
Cllr Glynn added that he had worked with the residents associations of a number of estates, such as Cloon Lara in Mullingar, that the council will shortly be taking in charge. The associations work hard to improve their estates and the news that they are to be taken in charge will be welcomed by their members, he said.
Cllr Una D’Arcy said the people of Collinstown will be delighted to hear that Beechpark and Cois Lene have been taken in charge. She also welcomed the news that the Cluain Lorcain development in Delvin is involved in the process.
Cllr Liam McDaniels said that he was pleased for the residents of the Abbeybrook estate in Kilbeggan that it was being taken in charge as they had been waiting for a number of years for the matter to be resolved.
Cllr Michael O’Brien voiced his satisfaction that the council was in the process of taking in charge 17 estates in the Athlone Municipal District (AMD), including the Toorvalley estate in Moate. Cllr Frankie Keena welcomed the news that the Woodville development in Athlone has been taken in charge and complimented the council on its work in the AMD.
Cllr Mick Dollard said that with so many estates set to be taken in charge in the next 12 months, the council should send letters to residents outlining both the council’s and their responsibilities.