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Homeowners say they are being ‘held to ransom'

April 3rd, 2019 11:50 AM

By Jackie Keogh

Togher Village: Residents had hoped that Cork County Council and Irish Water could have agreed to help them.

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HOMEOWNERS in Dunmanway believe they are being held to ransom over the management of their estates.

Cork County Council has written to the residents of Castle Heights and Togher Village requesting that they establish a legally incorporated management company for the maintenance of public lighting, roads, footpaths, parking areas, water, wastewater infrastructure and open sewers.

Dunmanway-based Cllr Declan Hurley (Ind) has been trying to resolve this issue for the last two years. He believes the residents ‘are being forced into a situation they were never prepared or advised about when they bought their properties.’

He said these people have been ‘abandoned’ by the local authority and are now being held to ransom by asking them to establish a management company that makes them fully liable for the provision and ongoing maintenance of the development.

He told The Southern Star that the residents had been paying the ongoing running costs for the provision of drinking water and the treatment of waste water for both developments for the past two years in the hope that Cork County Council and Irish Water would share some of the responsibility and cost of the maintenance in the future. But both institutions are refusing to take in charge the estates and their infrastructure.

Cllr John O’Sullivan said the people in Dunmanway are not the only people facing this dilemma. He said the problem is widespread and that the cost of maintenance, as well as the replacement of parts, presented a huge, additional financial burden for the homeowners.

A Council official wrote to the councillor saying remedial works ‘may be funded via the security bond, which is currently retained by the Planning Authority.’ But the letter also clearly stated that the re-sponsibility for the maintenance of the estate ‘will revert to the residents.’

The Council said it will ‘not take this infrastructure in charge at any time in the foreseeable future, in the absence of a change in Irish Water, Government policy, or funding streams for such matters’.

The Council official’s memo was also quite stark when it stated: ‘No remedial works can, or will be, undertaken until such time as the management company is legally established and all electricity account and or maintenance agreements associated with the estates are established in the company name.’

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