Home owners in 19th century Thomond Square off Cork’s Old Blackrock Rd said they have serious concerns that the drilling of 19 holes for water meters could cause extensive damage to the properties in an area where subsidence is already a problem.
“This is not about water charges or the installation of water meters per se,” said residents’ spokesman Pat Talbot. “Thomond Square, like the rest of the country, has a cross-section of viewpoints on the water charges issue.
“In fact, some residents have registered with Irish Water and paid their bills.
“But everyone is united in their concerns about what the drilling for water meter installation might do.
“This is about home owners wanting to protect the structure and fabric of their properties and the grounds they were built on.”
The square’s 19 single-storey houses and gate lodge were built in the mid-19th century to provide houses for army and police officers.
The Victorian development is one of the oldest residential estates in Cork City. It is a listed estate and all the buildings are protected structures.
Thomond Square Home Owners and Residents Association wrote to Irish Water requesting meters not be installed outside their homes. They said given the age of their properties, the serious subsidence issues in the square, and the fact that all structures in Thomond Square are listed, water meter installation work could put their properties at risk.
The appeal was rejected.
Irish Water said it would use lighter drills and thinner concrete, and indicated it planned to move on site on Monday.
Bad weather delayed the start date and residents appealed to contractors who arrived on site yesterday, stalling the work further.
The residents appealed again to Irish Water last night to exclude their estate from the water metering programme.
“Irish Water is proposing to drill 19 holes immediately outside houses, in some instances less than 3ft from front doors, and demolishing sections of footpath in the process,” said Mr Talbot. !This is a matter of enormous concern to us.
“We are appalled by Irish Water’s decision to proceed, despite our clearly stated concerns, in writing and in a meeting with an engineering representative.
“We are aware of other areas where a decision has been made not to install meters because of the age of properties.
“We are at a loss to understand why a similar decision cannot be made in respect of Thomond Square.”
A spokeswoman for Irish Water said the contractor is satisfied that, with appropriate mitigation measures, they will be able to proceed with the works on the listed buildings.
“The mitigation measures will reduce vibration from the works and include the use of hand tools rather than a mechanical breaker and the use of material that does not require compaction,” she said.