Kildare-Newbridge Municipal District Agenda Reports for January 2015

1. How many cases have been taken against developers of unfinished estates in the previous five years with what success and cost (please identify estates)?

Report: in the previous 5 years, Building and Development Control Section has commenced formal enforcement proceedings in twenty four cases against developers relating to the non – completion or the failure to satisfactorily maintain private housing developments. This has led to legal proceedings being initiated in four cases. In one case a successful prosecution was secured but as the company was dissolved before the court case was heard, fines and costs could not be collected. In the other three cases, funds were secured from bonds or other sources for remedial works. Four of the twenty four developments involved are in Newbridge/Kildare Municipal District as listed below.

 

Estate Name

1

Allen Manor, Kilmeague

2

Bodkin Place, Kilmeague

3

Old Abbey Manor, Newbridge

4

Loughminane Green, Kildare

 

It should be noted that the commencement of formal enforcement proceedings can have unintended consequences. For example, it can make it difficult for any house sales to be completed in a development, which may affect existing residents more than the developer. In our experience, meaningful engagement between the Council and relevant stakeholders to agree a Site Resolution Plan to address all outstanding issues is the most effective way of dealing with unfinished developments.

At present there are twenty four estates in the county where Site Resolution Plans have been agreed or are under negotiation. Formal enforcement proceedings were commenced in relation to six of these developments. There are twenty six estates in the county where bond funds have been secured or bond providers have agreed to undertake remedial or completion works. Of these, formal enforcement proceedings were commenced in seven cases. This demonstrates that in the majority of cases, formal enforcement proceedings (and all of the associated unintended consequences) were not necessary to bring the relevant stakeholder (developer, land owner, receiver, liquidator or bond provider) to engage with the Council. Formal enforcement proceedings are not always the most appropriate method of dealing with outstanding issues in private housing developments. The threat of formal enforcement proceedings or calling in the bond can be an effective and efficient way to get the necessary stakeholders to engage with the council to agree a Site Resolution Plan. It is for all of these reasons that Building and Development Control Section will continue to take a proactive and balanced approach and will recommend commencement of formal enforcement proceedings where it is necessary.

DECLG and The Housing Agency issued the following two publications in October 2011 which outline the parties and processes involved in the whole area of unfinished housing estates.

  • The Guide for Residents Living in Unfinished Housing Developments.
  • The Stakeholders Code of Practice Between The Representative Bodies Dealing with Unfinished Housing Developmetns.

Both The Guide for Residents and The Stakeholders Code of Practice are available for consultation on the Council website at

http://kildare.ie/CountyCouncil/Planning/DevelopmentControlDepartmentinclUnfinishedEstates

  1. Have any developers, who have failed to finish estate/s or failed to fulfil agreements on development levies and/or bonds, applied for or been connected to planning application in the last three years?

Report issued by Ken Kavanagh, Senior Executive Officer, Planning Department: We are not aware of any cases in the last three years. The relevant legislation for dealing with such cases is Section 35 of The Planning and Development Act 2000 as amended – Refusal of planning permission for past failures to comply. Historically, we have used the existence of this legislation to progress particular estates where there are outstanding matters and the same developer has applied for new planning permissions on other lands in the county. The difficulty with using this particular legislation is that the developer of a particular site may not be the party who applies for planning permission. The same individual may operate under a different company name on subsequent developments. In addition Kildare County Council would not be aware of past problems or unfinished developments in other council areas.