County Council gets order over unfinished estate

Louth County Council secured a court order last week allowing it to enter an unfinished housing estate in Dromiskin, to carry out safety improvement works.

Louth County Council secured a court order last week allowing it to enter an unfinished housing estate in Dromiskin, to carry out safety improvement works.

Dundalk district court heard that the local authority was responding to concerns raised by the Health and Safety Authority - over the dangerous state the development’s been left in where five families with young children live.

The court was told Springhomes Developments Ltd. of Little Road, Dromiskin was being prosecuted for failing to comply with a dangerous structures notice in April this year and that the council was also seeking leave to go onto the property at Willowbrook, Dromiskin.

The local authority’s solicitor John McGahon outlined how the matter came to their attention, after the council was contacted by the Health and Safety Authority who were “very concerned”.

The court heard the development comprised of 18 houses - five of which are occupied by families with young children.

Mr. McGahon said the estate was “in effect abandoned to all intents and purposes”.

Three of the homes were almost complete but the 10 remaining houses are in various stages of development.

A chief technician from the Council’s planning section Paddy Birch outlined how the defendant had been told to make secure the site, with a view to safeguarding the children living there, but only temporary fencing was erected and he found it had blown over when he made an site-visit.

He explained the fencing in question was only suitable for use for two or three days rather than for long-term use.

He added there are also concerns that foundations that are prone to flooding could pose a drowning hazard, it was very easy to gain access to the site and the council had received reports of young people climbing onto the roofs of houses that were along the main road.

The court heard the developer had emailed the council saying they had re-erected the temporary fencing and had no funds to carry out further work.

Judge Flann Brennan also heard how the residents themselves had paid to have fencing put up and the council wants permission to go on site and carry out the work to make the estate safe and “at least liveable in”.

He granted that order and fined the company €1,269 for failing to comply with the dangerous structures notice.