New Ross Standard

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Irish Water leaving home owners in limbo

No estates will be built in the New Ross district unless Irish Water builds wastewater facilities, councillors warned.

Cllr John Fleming said Irish Water is reluctant to repair sewerage problems in estates.

'People feel like their properties are in limbo,' Cllr Fleming, who works as an estate agent, said.

'If you are selling your house you are not going to set up a management company. Solicitors are advising people not to go ahead (with the sale).'

Cllr Michael Whelan said he had a meeting with residents in an estate on this issue, saying Irish Water are not working with them. 'They are very annoyed. They are looking for the council to act but we don't have the power.'

James Lavin of the planning department said: 'Irish Water are not taking the infrastructure in hand so the fall back position is that the council wil take them in charge if the bonds and levies are not in place.'

Mr Lavin said there is a slight reluctance to take on the repairs because of the costs involved.

Cllr Anthony Connick said the problem has gotten to a stage where banks will not lend to people buying in estates where these problems exist. 'It's a disaster. I know of people who are 18 months trying to sell their home but because the sewerage is in the back gardens Irish Water will not take on the discharge, but they will take on the water mains.'

Councillors called for more funding for Wexford County Council to take estates in charge. Cllr Willie Fitzharris said there are estates where only half the residents are paying management company fees.

Cllr Oisin O'Connell said the issue will stifle further development in the county. He enquired if a special area of conservation extends beyond the specific area to neighbouring lands which through pollution could affect the area.

Mr Lavin said: 'When you live close to a special area of conservation you are required to carry out a screening report indictaing if there is potential of environmental impact on the area. If there is an impact and environmental report is required.'

Cllr Whelan proposed the council write to Irish Water on the matter, adding that tensions are boiling over in estates over the matter.

'Someone will kick up a stink and it's us they are looking it (to solve this),' he added.

District Director Eamonn Hore said the local authority has taken more estates in charge over the past four years than it did in the previous 30 years. 'Our aim is to take all estates in charge. There is an issue with Irish Water. We have had a meeting with them. They are a commercial body. A lot of the bond monies would have been expended.'

Mr Hore said it will be up to six years before Irish Water takes over water and sewerage in our estates.

New Ross Standard