A Louth County Councillor has equated a Clogherhead housing estate’s wait for road repairs to the journey towards the reunification of Germany in 1990.
Independent councillor Declan Power made the comments at this month’s Drogheda Borough Council meeting held at The Barbican Centre in the town, where he tabled a motion calling on the local authority to fast track a new road for Castle View in the seaside village as soon as possible.
However, the councillor’s calls fell on deaf ears. While the council confirmed that Castle View is progressing through the Taking in Charge process, they said the water infrastructure in the estate is poor. Catherine Duff, Director of Services for Operations, said a funding application had been submitted to Irish Water to have the infrastructure improved.
The council also said there was a wayleave issue relating to water services in Castle View and they estimated that to resurface the development, assuming there are no structural issues with the substructure, would cost €35,000.
Ms Duff said there was no such funding available for this work.
Referring to the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall earlier this month, Cllr Power said. “During those 30 years the residents of Castle view housing estate in Clogherhead have witnessed many things and have battled tirelessly to have their housing estate taken in-charge by Louth County Council.
“The road in this housing estate is the worst road that I have seen in County Louth and unacceptable that the residents have to live with these conditions that resemble a bombsite. The road is in that poor a condition you would have to be a skilled driver to manoeuvre your car through the estate.
“The housing estate entrance is also linked to the Callystown road that is used by locals and visitors on a daily basis and who have to observe this eye sore. This is not an image the village want to portray as an area of natural beauty, he added.
Clogherhead-based Cllr Power told the meeting that should someone in the estate require an ambulance, the emergency services would find it extremely difficult to get into the estate. He added that wheelchair users cannot cross from one side of the estate to the other – owing to the poor condition of the road (pictured below).
“Several years ago, a resident and a local football hero for club and county passed away. To have a dignified removal, a local builder had to fill in parts of the road with concrete and place fish boxes over the holes and let it dry overnight so that the hearse could get in and out safely.
“This road has continued to deteriorate year on year with residents continuing to be out of pocket with constant car problems i.e. shocks, tyres, tracking, etc and their houses devalued in the process.
“The residents of Castle View bought what they understood to be a fully serviced site in a development with outline planning permission. All purchase costs and fees were paid, full planning permissions was received and houses were built. The residents pay their mortgages and property taxes. They live up to their end of the bargain.”
Cllr Power continued: “Unfortunately, the developer and the council did not comply with the planning conditions and agreed specifications.
“I understand that the council has no obligation to take the property in charge, however, I do not accept this. In my opinion, Louth County Council and the developer have failed the residents of Castle View housing estate. The council also failed the residents by not securing a bond from the developer. The Council also failed the residents again by allowing the time to claim a bond to expire.”
The developer in question is Edward Tuite. The meeting heard that there are significant wayleave issues with sewers and that there was no bond available to undertake road repairs.
The council has completed a Site Resolution Plan with a view to applying for funding from Irish Water to undertake the necessary repairs that include defections in the water and sewer pipes.
Cllr Power asked the local authority to make Castle View a “priority case”. “I think the council should learn from past mistakes, do the right thing and find the funding to carry out this work so that the residents can have their own unification and not wait another 30 years to have this done.”
Sinn Féin councillor Tom Cunningham told the meeting that Ms Duff had visited the site earlier this year. He said he also raised the issue with Chief Executive Joan Martin on several occasions and suggested that his own councillor allocation could be used to do some work in Castle View.
Frank Pentony told the councillors that councillors allocations could not not be used for repairs or works on private roads, as the estate had not yet been taken in charge by the local authority.
“This slow process has taken 30 years. You’d hope it would solved within the next 12 months,” Cllr Power concluded.