Demand for household charge payment from residents of unfinished Boherlahan estate ‘absurd’ claims TD

Residents of Longfield Estate, Boherlahan are being expected to pay the Household Charge despite their estate being listed as a Category 3 Unfinished estate by South Tipperary County Council, according to Independent TD Mattie McGrath.

Residents of Longfield Estate, Boherlahan are being expected to pay the Household Charge despite their estate being listed as a Category 3 Unfinished estate by South Tipperary County Council, according to Independent TD Mattie McGrath.

He has described the decision as ‘absurd’.

As part of the process of preparing the National Housing Development Survey 2011, published by the Department of the Environment in October 2011, local authorities, including South Tipperary County Council, provided details of all unfinished housing developments in their areas.

Unfinished housing developments were divided into four categories as follows:

· Category one, where the development is still being actively completed by the developer, or where no serious public safety issues exist;

· Category two, where a receiver has been appointed;

· Category three, where a receiver has not been appointed and the developer is still in place but effectively inactive; and

· Category four, where the development has been effectively abandoned and is posing serious problems for residents.

Residents of estates in Category three and four are eligible for a waiver to exempt them from paying the Household Charge.

In response to a Parliamentary Question, the Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government Jan O’Sullivan confirmed to Deputy McGrath that while Longfield Park, Boherlahan was classified as category three by South Tipperary County Council, it was omitted, in error from the list of estates prescribed as qualifying for a waiver from the household charge 2012.

Despite acknowledging the Departments error, the Minister stated that there is no appeals procedure and no facility to amend the list once it has been prescribed but that consideration of the categorisation of this development will arise again in the contact of the prescribed list for the purposes of the waiver from the local property tax.

“This is absurd. An error was made by the Department but they say that they cannot correct their error and amend the list so basically these residents will just have to pay up.

“A number of residents have already received letters demanding payment of the household charge. This is just another example of bureaucracy gone mad and residents of this estate cannot be expected to pay for an error of the Department.” said Deputy McGrath

“If there is no facility to amend the list then we will have to amend legislation to make sure that residents of the unfinished estates are not being made to pay for the mistakes of the Department. I am shocked by the flippant attitude of the Minister in her response to my Parliamentary Question.”

“These residents are already suffering enough on a daily basis living in an unfinished housing estate and it is not acceptable that they are being charged the Household Charge. I am calling on the Minister for the Environment to deal with this matter.” concluded Deputy McGrath