Irish Rural Link seeks views on unfinished estates

Irish Rural Link (IRL) have initiated a process to hear the views of residents of unfinished estates and/or leaders of resident groups set up in unfinished estates all over Ireland. This process is part of the ongoing work of the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments.

Irish Rural Link (IRL) have initiated a process to hear the views of residents of unfinished estates and/or leaders of resident groups set up in unfinished estates all over Ireland. This process is part of the ongoing work of the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments.

Michael Kenny, lecturer in the Department of Adult & Community Education at NUI Maynooth, Associate member of National Institute for Regional and Spatial Analysis (NIRSA), Specialist in Rural Community development, a board member of Irish Rural Link (IRL) and a Town Councillor in Trim Town Council is an IRL nominated member of the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments chaired by the Minister for Housing Jan O’Sullivan TD.

Mr Kenny has offered, in conjunction with Irish Rural Link, to be a conduit for the concerns of persons living in unfinished estates and for the communities concerned with the finalisation process for these estates. Irish Rural Link are offering regional meetings to residents of these estates, to community groups concerned and to stakeholders as requested.

One of the residual vestiges of the Ireland’s building boom is the number of unfinished housing estates dotted all over the country. While we might be upset looking at the unfinished housing estates it is very upsetting for the people who, with the best of faith and with hard-earned borrowed money, bought into a home only to find themselves living in a permanent unfinished building site. The government established a committee of stakeholders to oversee a process that would bring these estates to a level of completion in 2010. Significant progress is being made in tackling problems associated with unfinished housing developments as evidenced by the July 2012 Unfinished Housing Developments Progress Report.

“According to the Irish Times (Wednesday, November 28, 2012) “… the number of unfinished housing estates has fallen from more than 2,800 two years ago to 1,770, a decrease of 37 per cent in the number of unfinished developments since 2010, and a 27 per cent decrease in the number of vacant units.”

Notwithstanding the progress being made there are approx. 1,000 developments, or parts thereof, that are in a seriously problematic condition, i.e. they contain serious defects in roads, public lighting, water services and amenities. Many of these developments will be resolved through ongoing efforts but local authorities suggest that there is probably a cohort of wholly or substantially vacant unfinished developments, around 100 in number, which do not present an obvious resolution route, due to location, because of build quality, commercial demand or other factors.

These developments are primarily, but not exclusively, located in the border, midlands and western parts of the country. Such developments face the twin dilemmas of being neither viable to complete to any reasonable standard nor viable to leave in their currently uncompleted state because of the likely recurrence of issues around the safety of the site, the visual impact, acting as a venue for anti-social behaviour and all leading to a likely deterioration with impact for the local and adjoining community.

Anyone interested in making views known in confidence to the National Co-ordination Committee on Unfinished Housing Developments via Michael Kenny as a representative for Irish Rural Link on the Committee, or directly to Irish Rural Link should contact Maria Pettit, Irish Rural Link, Moate Business Park, Clara Road, Moate, Co Westmeath, e-mail info@irishrurallink.ie, telephone (090) 6482744 or 6482745.

In particular Michael Kenny and Irish Rural Link are interested in hearing from residents of unfinished estates and/or leaders of resident groups set up in unfinished estates, as recommended in the Guide for Residents Living in Unfinished Housing Developments, at the IRL contact above or mkennytrim@gmail.com, 087 2549540.

Residents living in unfinished estates should read a useful leaflet is available on http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Housing/FileDownLoad,28066,en.pdf. The Department of Environment Community and Local Government published a best practice Guidance Manual on Managing and Resolving Unfinished Housing Developments, including approaches to site resolution planning, coupled to an agreed Code of Practice and a Guide for Residents (all published and available on www.housing.ie);

The ‘Resolving Unfinished Housing Developments Progress Report on Actions to Address Unfinished Housing Developments’ is available on http://www.environ.ie/en/Publications/DevelopmentandHousing/Housing/FileDownLoad,30678,en.pdf