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Ghost Town

THE Government is being called on to change derelict site legislation to prevent vacant Nama land turning into a new generation of eyesores.

The call comes as it emerged that there are over 3,700 unfinished houses in developments in south Co Dublin alone.

Councillors have backed a motion seeking a review of the laws and a redress of the balance "between the interests of developers and local communities".

It was brought before a meeting of the council by Cllr Dermot Looney (Lab), who said the existing legislation favoured developers who had been allowed to leave behind ghost estates and "other kips" after the property crash.


At the same meeting it emerged that South Dublin County Council has 3,789 houses in 23 developments that have not been completed. The council will now write to the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley, to carry out the review.

"I think it is time considering the likely dereliction of vast swathes of Nama land," Cllr Looney said.

He pointed to local examples of derelict land -- such as the former McHugh's shopping centre site at Greenhills, Tallaght.

"We are left with the neglect, the eyesore, the dumping and the rats," he said. "Up until recently we also suffered vast scrawls of graffiti, an unsecured entrance, antisocial behaviour within the site and the danger of bonfires at Hallowe'en. This council called for the provision of a brick wall at the site. Instead, the developer threw up a few sheets of MDF hoarding in a job that would make a cowboy builder blush."

Cllr Looney said the existing legislation -- the 1990 Derelict Sites Act -- had failed "miserably" to protect communities.

"The legislation is clearly pro-developer and anti-community," he said.

A council spokesman told the meeting the council had a number of actions open to it and had taken action several times. He pointed out that some sites were cleaned up, only to be as bad "as they were on day one" a month later. "We don't have the resources to even contemplate (compulsory purchase) of these lands," he said. "We will be taking all action open to us under the legislation."

Figures on the numbers of unfinished homes were released following a question from Cllr Caitriona Jones.

It council said it defined as "unfinished", developments that had not yet been taken in charge by the council and where there were works still to be carried out that were the responsibility of the developer. The largest of the unfinished developments is the 588-unit Carrigmore at Fortunestown, built by Devondale Ltd.

The road has yet to be taken in charge, with resurfacing needed and an inspection by the council to be arranged.


The next largest is Kelland Homes Ltd's huge Sundale development in Tallaght.

In this development, services have not yet been taken in charge even though the road was, in 2004. The council said a drainage survey and revised drawings had been resubmitted. At Mill Race in Saggart, a mixed residential scheme of mostly private housing built by Neville Development Partnership, construction is nearly finished. The council said it was inspecting work on a regular basis.

A remedial list has been prepared and issued for McInerney Construction's 292-unit Hansted development in Lucan, with a final inspection of works due.

At 290-unit Beechdale, in Ballycullen, the developer has been on site in recent weeks completing works following the council's actions.