Buyers of houses in unfinished estates will have to pay development charges, meeting told

Carrick-on-Suir Town Council was owed close to €850,000 at the end of last year in development charges on new properties built in the town.

Carrick-on-Suir Town Council was owed close to €850,000 at the end of last year in development charges on new properties built in the town.

That’s what emerged at the Town Council’s monthly meeting where councillors were informed that Development Contribution charges accounted for the bulk of the €849,000 owed to the Council by long term debtors on December 31 last year.

Development Contributions were owed to the Council for between 30 to 35 developments in Carrick-on-Suir, the meeting heard during a discussion on the local authority’s Statutory Audit Report for 2011

Town Clerk Michael O’Brien told the meeting that the Council entered into agreements with developers that Development Contributions would be paid on the sale of a property.

He gave examples of a number of developments where there were Development Contribution charges outstanding on unsold properties.

They included Ravenswood on the Cregg Road, Hazel Close at Greenhill where 16 of the 24 houses built were not sold yet and a number of houses at Gleann an Locha at Sir John’s Road. “We can’t get the charges until they are sold,” he said.

Fianna Fail’s Cllr Kieran Bourke told the meeting that a receiver appointed to the firm that developed Ravenswood sold 20 houses in the estate very cheaply in a “fire sale” two months ago.

He asked if Town Council had an agreement with the developer of Ravenswood in relation to Development Contribution charges and if so did that agreement follow through to the receiver.

Mr O’Brien responded that Development Contributions were a condition of planning permissions and where a housing estate went into receivership the Council expected the Development Charges to be paid when houses on the estate were sold.

Cllr Bourke asked if this had happened and whether the Council had received any money from the Ravenswood sales.

Mr O’Brien said he didn’t know if the Council had received money yet. He stressed the Council had not entered into any deal with any receiver or developer to reduce or waive Development Contributions. The money owed was due in full.

Cllr Margaret Croke asked whether the sale of the Ravenswood houses wouldn’t be complete until the Development Contributions were paid.

Mr O’Brien responded that the person who purchased the house would owe the Town Council the outstanding Development Contributions.

He gave the example of a person buying a house in the countryside. They would engage a solicitor to do a full check on the property. If Development Contributions were owed on the house they could still purchase it but the Council could come after them for the Development charges.