Council in talks over Westbury developer bonds

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

CLARE County Council will have to complete negotiations with insurers who hold developer bonds before the sprawling Westbury estate can be taken in charge by the local authority.

CLARE County Council will have to complete negotiations with insurers who hold developer bonds before the sprawling Westbury estate can be taken in charge by the local authority.

Residents of one of the largest estates on the outskirts of the city had been calling for the council to take responsibility for infrastructure and maintenance long before its two primary developers - McInerney Homes and Chieftain Construction - went out of business.

Taking Westbury in charge remains “a priority” for the council, director of service Ger Dollard has now written to councillors. “We have had meetings at senior level with Allianz representatives and our respective technical personnel have been engaging on issues for the last number of months. We are trying to maximise the call on the bond but, as you can appreciate, the other side, quite understandably, would be trying to minimise the claim. Having said that, I am quite satisfied that Allianz have approached the task in a bona fide way and progress is being made,” Mr Dollard stated.

He added that the insurers themselves had already spent over €100,000 on works in Westbury, promising to brief councillors once matters are finalised.

Cllr Cathal Crowe and Cllr Pascal Fitzgerald have this week issued a joint statement welcoming the update.

Problems at Westbury have been aggravated, they say, by the introduction of the household charge, which will be of no benefit to Westbury residents as long as the council cannot carry out improvements.

“If every household complied with the charge, the council would collect €100,000. Regrettably, this money has not and is not being spent on any service provision within Westbury at this time because the council has no jurisdiction over the estate. This has led many residents to question why they should even have to pay the charge in the first instance,” the councillors said. “We fully understand their frustrations and hope that the fast-tracking of the taking in charge process will help to allay some concerns.”