Irish Water charges €1m to connect to care home

June 15th, 2020 7:05 AM

By Jackie Keogh

This aerial shot shows the site’s proximity to the wastewater treatment plant.

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Developer says fee to connect across the road is ‘beyond insane’

IRISH Water’s demand for more than €1m to connect a proposed residential care home to a sewage plant in Drimoleague has been described as ‘insane’.

Patrick Henderson, the developer behind the proposed 95-bed Woodsgift Residential Care Facility at Gurranes South, Drimoleague, said: ‘At that rate, the project is not feasible.’

Mr Henderson said: ‘We had a reasonable expectation that the cost of a connection would be in the region of €150,000, or at the very most €200,000, but we were shocked when Irish Water verbally told us that it could cost anywhere between €1.2m and €1.6m to connect to the sewage treatment plant, which is located directly across the road.’ Mr Henderson said: ‘To charge that for a connection that is no further than 15m away is beyond insane and would render the development completely and utterly unworkable.’

The developer asked: ‘How does Irish Water, and the Irish government, expect development – both small and large – to go ahead in rural areas if that is their response?’

Mr Henderson claimed that the project – which would cost an estimated €5m to bring to completion – had already been the subject of pre-planning meetings in Mallow.

He suggested that the 12-acre site – which is located outside the town and off the main road to Skibbereen – is ideal for a development of this kind.

The developer pointed out that there is a growing demand for quality care homes, and that the facility could develop, over time, to become a retirement village, and he added: ‘I believe the facility would be a tremendous benefit to the local community.’

A spokesperson for Irish Water said that the existing wastewater treatment plant in Drimoleague is operating very close to capacity, and that Irish Water currently has no plans to upgrade, or increase the capacity of the Drimoleague wastewater treatment plant.

Mr Henderson said he had previously discussed developing a private treatment plant on site with planning officials, but they had referred him to Irish Water. Given that the Irish Water cost is so prohibitive, he said he was now hopeful the planning authority would allow the sewage treatment plant to be developed on site.

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