Residents of a Portarlington housing estate want Laois County Council to put pressure on a developer to fix what they claim are a myriad of problems on their estate.
Construction of the Landsdowne estate, off the Ballymorris Road, began during the boom but only phase one out of three was complete. Some 177 houses were built and 24 are empty. A small crew is still on site but the residents say there are problems such as leaking mains, temporary hoarding, broken footpaths, an unlit entrance road and manholes sticking up out of the ground are not being fixed.
James Caffrey from the residents association says people paid a lot money for their houses, and are concerned for the safety of their families.
“Prices have dropped by over €100,000 since we bought our house four years ago. They were supposed to put in a playground that was on the plans, but I don’t think they will do that now, We have concerns, I am a builder myself and I know when things have not been done properly,” he said.
He says residents are doing their part to upkeep the estate.
“We all pay €2 a week, we took a bit of landscaping on, we are starting to do the roundabouts now,” he said.
He questions why developers were recently given a five year planning extension, when the council were aware of problems.
“They already knew the first phase was not finished. Kieran Kehoe came here two months ago and we asked him to get burst water mains and damaged footpaths fixed,” he said.
Fine Gael Cllr Tom Mulhall called for the estate to be finished.
“I know that Laois County Council have done a huge amount of work and had great success in the last couple of years chasing developers to finish other estates in Port,” he said.
Cllr Mulhall has visited the estate several times.
“Residents are understandably very annoyed that work has not been completed properly. Fencing at the back of the estate is unsecured and presents a major safety issue as children could easily gain access on to waste ground. There is also easy access to the public road and oncoming traffic,” he said.
Senior Executive Officer Kieran Kehoe says that after meeting the residents, the council submitted a detailed list of issues to the developer for completion.
“A lot of these issues have been addressed and there are still some to be completed. As normal we give a reasonable timeframe to the developer when they are carrying out repairs, however we will proceed to enforcement proceedings if the required works are not completed within a reasonable timeframe.
Mr Kehoe said there were no safety problems.
“I am not aware of any Health and Safety issues on the site at present. The only issue raised was with respect to lands opposite the estate and Laois County Council got that landowner (not the estate developer) to make their lands safe,” he said.