13 'ghost estates' in one of smallest councils
ONE of the smallest local authorities in the country has 13 ghost estates where just half of the planned homes are finished.
Carlow County Council yesterday admitted that 176 of the 320 homes planned for small villages and towns across the county were not completed. Some of the estates in which they are based are unkempt and need upgrading works.
The revelation comes as Department of the Environment will today reveal that up to 100,000 houses and apartments are lying idle, victims of the collapse in the property market.
The full extent of the problem of 'ghost' estates will be revealed in an official report setting out what will happen to 2,700 unfinished housing developments across the State.
Ghost estates are defined as those that contain unfinished, unoccupied, or partially occupied houses and apartment blocks.
The scale of the problem of the unfinished estates -- first revealed in the Irish Independent earlier this month -- is four times higher than previously thought.
Surveys from local authorities also being published today will show the extent of the work needed to bring them up to proper living standards.
Many of the estates in the new total of 2,700 are located in the midlands and north-west, areas where tax incentives were available to developers to build new homes, many of which were clearly not needed.
Among the worst-affected areas are Leitrim, Sligo, Longford and Roscommon.
Unoccupied buildings in ghost estates pose serious safety risks because sewers have been left open, water is contaminated and building sites are not secured properly.
It ultimately means taxpayers will be forced to pay the bill for the mess caused by developers and the banks.
The report will also set out a range of options on what to do with the unsold units.
Many of the new houses will be bulldozed because of health and safety concerns.
Others will be taken over by local authorities for use as social housing. Some taken over by banks after the developers went bust will be finished and sold at a discount.
Guidance will also be given on how bonds or securities lodged with local authorities by developers can be seized.