Monday 19 March 2018

Estate lights may be turned off

Fintan Lambe

Householders in an Oulart housing estate have cried foul as they are asked to pay bills for public lighting in addition to the property tax.

Now they face the prospect of having the lights switched off, as arrears are run up on their ESB account.

The residents of Kyle Meadow are living in one of scores of neighbourhoods waiting to be taken in charge by Wexford County Council.

The firm which built the 30 house development at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom has since gone out of business.

The company left behind a full set of street lights and a sewerage system which has given a few problems.

After foul-smelling raw sewage repeatedly appeared in the garden of one unfortunate family, the local authority stepped in a year ago.

Council workers now arrive regularly to clear out the holding tank beside the treatment every time the tank fills up. Kyle Meadow is on the public water mains, but Wexford County Council has never taken responsibility for the lighting.

Eight years after residents began to move in, the neighbourhood has matured and it looks fine.

'It is a lovely place to live,' said one householder last week as children played on well-tended lawns.

However, anyone wishing to sell their property is likely to run into problems as potential purchasers wonder why the area has not been taken in charge by the council.

And each household is faced with a demand for around €100 a year to pay for the running of the street lights.

Volunteers have so far been climbing to put in new bulbs whenever one of the lights goes dark.

While many are prepared to pay, despite the fact that they have already stumped up the money for LPT (local property tax), some have refused.

And officials have warned that Wexford County Council is not prepared to take on an estate with debts. The arrears are running at around €1,000, opening up the prospect that the power may be shut off by the ESB.

'The situation is very messy,' said resident Lynn McAlister, who admitted that the uncertainty is stressful.

She and her neighbours have petitioned Wexford County Council to take over but they are worried that the street light arrears and sewerage problems may consign them to an expensive limbo, with no end in sight.

Enniscorthy Guardian