Wednesday 18 October 2017

€10m needed to repair Glending, say residents

RESIDENTS of the troubled Glending estate in Blessington estimate it will cost in the region of €10 million to properly repair all the problems which have besieged the houses there since its completion.

Funding of €2.3 million has so far been approved to try rectify a number of the estate's numerous issues and locals say €670,000 of that allocation was spent on the renovation of eight houses.

According to the Glending Residents Association, it will take another €7 million to renovate the remainder of the properties located in the estate.

Wicklow County Council has started court proceedings against all the original parties involved in the construction of the estate but residents say they can't wait for the High Court to finalise matters. Instead they want Environment Minister, Phil Hogan, to sanction the County Council with the full amount required to properly repair the houses.

Chairperson of the Resident's Group, Carmel Cashin, says 'the council can then pay back the Department once they have recouped their money from the court case. We have already been waiting six years and Glending really could become another Priory Hall or Fatima Mansions.'

Ms Cashin and other concerned residents met with three of Wicklow's TDs on Monday evening to ask for their assistance.

The estate comprises of 69 social and 14 affordable houses but since its completion in 2009 Glending has been the subject of constant construction related problems and flooding issues.

TDs Billy Timmins, Andrew Doyle and Simon Harris met with residents at St. Mary's School where a wide ranging discussion about the estate took place. Deputy Stephen Donnelly offered his apologies and wasn't able to attend due to sickness while Deputy Anne Ferris had to cancel because of a scheduling conflict.

High Court Plenary Summons have been issued to all original parties involved with the construction of the estate including the Architect, Engineer, Contractor and Lime Render Consultants. However, residents say they can't wait for the court proceedings to reach a conclusion and want Environment Minister Phil Hogan to intervene.

Carmel Cashin says, 'We want the Minister to give Wicklow County Council the full amount of funding required to properly repair the houses in the estate. The council can then pay back the Department once they have recouped their money from the court case. We have already been waiting six years and Glending really could become another Priory Hall or Fatima Mansions.'

A budget of over €2.3 million was approved for a programme to rectify a number of problems including the upgrading of the surface water drains, replacement of render to houses, addressing problems with plumbing and central heating and repairs to roofs and chimneys.

However, residents aren't happy with the works which have taken place so far.

'Only the bare minimum works are being carried out to make sure no one dies in the estate,' adds Carmel

'There has to be some form of accountability and the blame lays firmly with Wicklow County Council.'

Residents also paid an independent architect to carry out a survey or every premises in the estate.

Carmel says the constant problems encountered in the estate have made life a misery for everyone living there.

'People have sewerage coming back up through their washing machines and sewerage coming up from the toilet and spilling out all over the floor. There are structural issues and houses suffering from severe damp. The lime based render has fallen off the houses and you also have lots of mould.'

Residents have also asked for first refusal should any new houses in Blessington become available.

Monday's meeting with the three TDs was organised by Blessington and District Forum and the Glending Residents Association.

Carmel explains, 'we want all the TDs to work together collectively. We are hopeful that together we can achieve an outcome that sees residents no longer living in inadequate housing conditions.'

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