The Orchard Estate is located by the busy shoppin centre in Stradbally
A county councillor has challenged Laois County Council over the delay in taking responsibility for public lights and roads in an estate where it owns several houses.
Cllr Paschal McEvoy and other councillors were frustrated and puzzled by the stance of the council in relation to The Orchard, but also Cill Beag Manor in Stradbally.
The Fianna Fáil councilor tabled motions about the two estates at the recent Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting.
Planning official, Mr Pat Delaney replied that The Orchard could not be taken in charge because a hydrant cover had to be replaced at one house.
Other unfinished work included work on weather manholes, steps and the removal of debris and silt. Footpaths at two other houses were also on the council’s snag list for the developer to complete.
But Cllr McEvoy was not satisfied with the pace of progress. He said the council bought six vacant houses in what is a lovely estate which were renovated and now occupied by council tenants.
“I would safely say that Laois County Council has more houses in the estate than anyone else,” he said of the estate which is located beside the busy new shopping area in the town centre.
Cllr McEvoy understood that a deal had been struck previously to take the estate in charge.
He described as “simple things to do” the list of jobs a developer has to complete before it will move in.
He also asked officials what can be done now and who will get the job done, but called the local authority to finish the work.
Adrian Barrett, Senior Engineer, committed to look into the situation further but Cllr McEvoy said the matter is now more urgent because of a lack of lighting in the estate.
As for Cill Beag Manor, the council said a wall needs plastering, sections of footpath need replacing and a boundary fence needs to be erected by the builder before it will step in to manage the lights and roads.
Cllr McEvoy said he had been trying to get progress for five years on this process.
He said the builder is operating and the road surfacing was completed. He believed that all issues had been sorted. He said “small money” is needed for the jobs the council wants done.
The councillor demanded that the council make contact with the developer to move the process as the estate has been built for several years.
“Every week I go to full council meetings and I see the council is taking estates in charge all around but whatever it is, Laois County Council doesn’t seem to have any interest in taking these estates in charge,” he said.
Cllr Aidan Mullins shared his colleagues' frustration. He said residents believe they are being ignored by councillors while he and others are “getting soft answers” from officials when they raise concerns such as those higlighted by Cllr McEvoy.
Director of Services Gerry Murphy committed to following up on the issues raised.