The threat of legal action coupled with an upturn in the housing market is helping Cork County Council to get resolutions on unfinished housing estates.
Council senior planner Andrew Hind said that six cases had been sent to the county solicitor for court action and the threat of this had brought all the bondholders to the table for talks.
Builders had to take out bonds (insurance policies) with financial institutions to assure money was in place to finish off estates if they went bust, which several did.
The council is pursuing the payment of bonds to carry out remedial work in estates which did not have parts such as footpaths, lighting and sewerage schemes properly finished.
Mr Hind said the council had made significant progress in reducing the number of unfinished estates in recent years — there were 286 in the county in 2010 but only 81 now. He said the threat of legal action had brought all six bondholders to the table.
“That has borne fruit and cash settlement offers are being received,” he said.
“Thus far we have managed to reduce the number of unfinished estates without court action. We threatened and we will take court action if necessary. But bond holders have come to the table.”
Addressing councillors from the Northern Division at a meeting in Mallow, the senior planner said in 2010 there were 81 unfinished estates in North Cork, which had now been whittled down to 33. He said he expected that to drop “to the mid-20s by the end of the year”.
Mr Hind said resolutions in North Cork were slower because the housing market hadn’t picked up as quickly in that region as other areas.
“The upturn in the housing market in the last year or so has increased the rate at which unfinished estates are being resolved. It started strongly in the Metropolitan area of Cork City and is starting to happen in North Cork now.”
He said receivers were selling unfinished estates to new builders, which is helping the situation.
“The fact that the housing sector is now functioning properly is a factor which will accelerate a resolution on unfinished estates in the next six to 12 months.”
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