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Families given a fortnight to quit 'firetrap' homes

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Hampton Gardens in Balbriggan. Photo: Kyran O'Brien

THEY were pitched as chic and spacious homes, ideal for raising a family in a north Dublin suburb.

But Hampton Gardens in Balbriggan faces the prospect of becoming yet another ghost estate after serious fire hazards were discovered.

Shocked residents were given just over two weeks to vacate their rented homes after being told that the properties are "seriously non-compliant with fire regulations".

And like the disastrous situation surrounding Priory Hall, the developer of these firetrap homes is in receivership.

Imperative

Although Hampton Gardens contains 51 individual units, just 15 are occupied.

Residents were told in a letter that their homes must be evacuated by today in order to ensure their safety.

"It is imperative that a programme of works is commenced as soon as possible to remedy the fire safety defects at the property," the letter states.

Kieran Wallace and Shane McCarthy of KPMG have been appointed receivers over the properties, which were built by Fortdale Developments.

The Herald has been unable to contact the company's directors and calls to the firm's office went unanswered.

A spokeswoman for the receivers said that a health and safety inspection found the properties were seriously non-compliant with fire regulations.

"The receiver immediately advised tenants that the units did not comply with fire regulations and consequently tenants would be required to relocate by May 31, 2013," she said.

"Steps were immediately taken to ensure the safety of tenants, including checking all smoke alarms and boilers, advising the tenants on fire safety and the appointment of 24-hour onsite security wardens for the development.

"The receiver has also been in contact with Fingal County Council on the development's non-compliance with fire regulations," she added.

Complex

Affected residents have been fully assisted in finding new homes and have had their deposits returned in full.

"The receiver and the property manager will continue to liaise closely with the tenants and Fingal County Council to ensure the safety of the tenants and to deal with questions should they arise."

Labour TD Tommy Broughan said the news of yet another firetrap complex in north Dublin was "devastating and outrageous".

"This is yet another example of the disastrous construction saga connected with the Celtic Tiger," he said.

"How are these developments allowed to be rented out to families when they are so dangerous and clearly don't meet appropriate standards?

"It's outrageous and devastating for both the residents affected and the surrounding community."

noconnor@herald.ie


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