The Director of Environment and Regeneration presented the above report a copy of which had previously been circulated. She advised that the purpose of the report was to update Members on the workings of the Member/Officer Working Group set up with regard to un-adopted roads issues across the district.
Councillor Reilly expressed his appreciation for the work carried out to date and thanked Members of the Working Group for their participation. He referred to discussions which had taken place with residents to advise them of the legalities regarding their property which he said was key to achieving a satisfactory outcome. He stated that the ratepayers concerned correctly assumed they were entitled to services similar to those which they had received in their previous dwellings and were experiencing difficulties accepting that they were unable to access certain services in their new property most notably the refuse collection service. Reference was made to specific developers who were keen to work with Council to have the situation resolved which was encouraging. He said it would be reassuring if Council and developers could actively seek a solution.
Alderman Hussey referred to a number of issues which needed addressing including some legacy matters. He said the longer the process took the less viable it became to intervene as the bond would not be sufficient to cover the cost of the works required to bring the road up to a standard suitable for adoption by the Department. He thanked Council for the work carried out particularly during the period following application for adoption and the subsequent probationary period. He stated that there were many potentially detrimental issues which impacted on Council services.
In response to a query from Councillor C Kelly, the Director of Environment and Regeneration confirmed that the Working Group met on a quarterly basis.
In response to a further query from Councillor C Kelly, the Director of Environment and Regeneration suggested that Councillor McCauley could replace Councillor Hassan on the Working Group.
Councillor C Kelly suggested that the timeframe set out by the Department in relation to the adoption of roads was unacceptable and expressed concern that it was ratepayers who were being most detrimentally impacted upon.
In response to a query from Alderman Warke, the Director of Environment and Regeneration advised that the Department were in possession of information regarding the current number of un-adopted roads. However, she undertook to request that this be made available to Members.
The Director of Environment and Regeneration referred to the importance of prospective buyers ascertaining if a development had been adopted by the Department. She stated that Council was endeavouring to develop, through its legal services, a system to encourage solicitors to bring this to the attention of their clients during the conveyancing process, together with the practicalities attached. Prospective buyers may not question if a development had street lighting and whether or not the road has been adopted by the Department and the consequences thereof. She reiterated that Council was endeavouring to encourage solicitors to raise this issue with potential buyers during the conveyancing stage.
Councillor Reilly stated that it was key to have this matter raised at the conveyancing stage. He stated that if it was possible to ensure that solicitors raised such issues at the conveyancing stage it would assist in addressing this problem.
Alderman Warke suggested that following the completion of a development, developers should be provided with a timeframe during which the site must be brought up to a standard suitable for adoption.
Alderman Ramsey referred to an issue in terms of consistency and the need to strive for a phased approach. He referred to a number of developments outside Dublin all of which were being developed on a phased basis where each phase was completed prior to beginning work on the next phase. This would ensure that developments were of a standard suitable for adoption prior to the developer leaving the site. In line with the Working Group’s efforts to achieve consistency he felt that adopting a phased approach would prove successful in addressing this problem.
Recommended (a) that Officers develop a Guidance document for developers outlining the circumstances under which Council could provide collection services on un-adopted estates and engage with local developers to seek views in relation to this following which an updated report will be brought back to Members for consideration; and
(b) that Council write to the Law Society advising them of the situation being experienced in this Council area in terms of un-adopted and highlighting the role Solicitors could play in addressing this problem.