Westbury ‘getting nothing in return for household tax’

Mike Dwane

Reporter:

Mike Dwane

RESIDENTS at one of the city’s biggest housing estates have contributed tens of thousands of euro through the household charge but still can’t get their local authority to repair roads or street lights.

RESIDENTS at one of the city’s biggest housing estates have contributed tens of thousands of euro through the household charge but still can’t get their local authority to repair roads or street lights.

The property crash has compounded problems at Westbury as the two main developers - McInerney Homes and Chieftain Construction - are in receivership and liquidation respectively.

Local councillor Cathal Crowe said that Clare County Council is in negotiations to take Westbury in charge.

But talks are complicated by the involvement of NAMA, receivers and banks.

In a joint motion tabled last week with Cllr Pascal Fitzgerald, Cllr Crowe stressed the urgency of the matter.

“With almost 1,000 housing units, Westbury is one of the largest housing estates in Munster yet Clare County Council have no official jurisdiction over it. Older sections of the estate were developed by McInerney Homes more than 20 years ago and newer parts of the estate were built by Chieftain Construction who have recently been liquidated,” Cllr Crowe stated.

“When anything goes wrong in Westbury the builders are nowhere to be seen and you can’t blame them - they finished working here a long time ago. No part of Westbury was exempt from payment of the €100 household charge so the estate contributed tens of thousands of euros towards the council’s coffers without there being an obligation on the council to provide them with services in return.”

This, he said, was an incredible situation which needed “urgent rectifying”.

“The council recently applied to take control of a bond which was lodged by the developers at the time of construction. Ultimately it is hoped that the bond money would be used to put right a number of the infrastructural problems in the estate and lead to the Council taking the estate over. This needs to happen sooner rather that later and I will be working with Cllr Fitzgerald to ensure that there is a satisfactory outcome,” Cllr Crowe said.