Residents of estate in North Cork have expressed delight that a number of structurally unsound houses are finally being demolished, but some have called on the county council to ensure their homes are now also checked for potential subsidence.
They also say the situation shows there should be more stringent structural checks on new homes before they are sold.
In July 2015 Cork County Council finally managed to get the receiver and insurance bondholder to seal off six unoccupied three-storey houses at Oakridge, at the entrance to the Dun An Oir estate in Kanturk, which had major cracks, especially in the gable walls.
Yesterday a specialist team from Smith Demolition, based at Newcastlewest, Co Limerick moved in to start tearing down the houses which were built around 11 years ago.
A spokesman for the company said he hoped the work would be completed by the end of next week.
“Concrete from the site will be crushed and used to fill holes which are causing the subsidence. The site will then be landscaped and mature trees will be planted on it,” he said.
The work is being paid for by AIB, which held the insurance bond for the developer who has since gone out of business.
Houses in the remainder of the estate all appear to be in good structural condition, but some homeowners want a full survey carried out just in case.
“We have had to look at these houses literally crumbling before our eyes. That’s led to a lot of sleepless nights for the residents in the estate wondering ‘is this going to happen to my house next?’ The vast majority of us have large mortgages and young families to worry about, but thankfully no other houses in the estate suffer from these problems,” Dun An Oir Residents’ Association spokesman Kevin Aherne said.
He said it had been extremely difficult for the residents to get the problem rectified dealing with the developer initially, then Nama, the receiver etc.
“At each juncture it got ever more difficult to find out who was responsible for these houses and what we could do. Only for Cork County Council getting involved and the imminent threat of prosecution I believe that these monstrosities would still be in place for the foreseeable future.”
The local authority is also in discussions with AIB to complete other works required in an unfinished section of the estate.
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