Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Ceisteanna (661)

Declan Breathnach

Ceist:

661. Deputy Declan Breathnach asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the persons or body with which liability stands for the upkeep of roads in cases in which a housing estate is not taken in charge by a local authority, does not have a management company and the builder is no longer in business; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47507/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under normal circumstances the developer is responsible for the maintenance and operation of housing estates until the local authority agrees to take them in charge.   The progression of individual developments through the taking-in-charge process is a matter for the relevant housing developer, the residents in such developments and the relevant local authorities, following the procedures laid out in section 180 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended).   Until an estate is taken in charge, legally the original developers are responsible for maintenance of roads and footpaths, water services, public lighting and open space but if a developer goes out of business, there can be difficulties in addressing maintenance issues arising. 

If, as I understand may be the case in this instance, the estate would had been eligible for taking in charge procedures in accordance with the grant of planning permission under section 34 of the 2000 Act except for the fact that the builder is no longer in business and the developer has not completed the estate to satisfactory levels, there are a number of options available to the planning authority and residents.  Firstly, the planning authority may draw down any security given under section 34(4)(g) of the 2000 Act for the satisfactory completion of the development.  Secondly, the planning authority can initiate enforcement proceedings against the developer.  However, where the authority considers that enforcement proceedings will not result in the satisfactory completion of the estate by the developer, the authority may, where requested by a majority of the owners of the houses in question, initiate the procedures set out in section 11 of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended) for the taking in charge of an estate. 

In short, the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 made amendments to the principal Act of 2000 with effect from 22 October 2018, essentially allowing for planning authorities where estates had not been satisfactorily completed and where enforcement proceedings had not been commenced within a four year period, to comply with section 11 of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended), where requested by the majority of owners of the houses involved. Planning authorities are now specifically empowered to take in charge part of an estate, or some but not all of the facilities in an estate.

The initiation of procedures under section 11 of the Roads Act 1993 (as amended) does not preclude a planning authority from pursuing a developer for costs incurred by the authority in respect of works undertaken on an estate, to enable it to be taken in charge by that authority.