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Councillor Johnny Flynn

Council asked to cut Ennis estate a break over mass of grass

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AN Ennis housing estate has been “abandoned” by the local authority, an Ennis councillor has claimed.

Calls have been made for the Ennis Municipal District to include the maintenance of trees and cutting of wide tranches of grass on either side of the main estate road at Cappahard estate.

According to Councillor Johnny Flynn large Ennis estates such as Cappahard built in the first decade of this century are “being treated unfairly” when it comes to grass cutting.

He outlined that residents in the Cappahard estate of 270 houses are paying around €9,000 to maintain the area. They receive a €350 grant towards this maintenance, the same amount as smaller estates with less costs.

Councillor Flynn argued that older estates and council estates have their green areas cut by the council while private estates have to pay, despite high planning development levies paid during construction and property tax “with little or no services in return”.

He said that there is a “huge amount of green space” at Cappahard as during its design it was intended to include the initial section of a main traffic relieving link road from the Tulla to Quin Roads.

“As a result the very large area of green spaces appear to have been specified either side of the central wide main estate road to keep housing back from what apparently was going to be a busy of  first section of main link/distributor road  to the Quin road.

“I believe that the Council also required large amount of tree planting along that potential  distributor road . It is disappointing that the remainder of that proposed road  was never progressed by the council.

“All of this enormous green spaces and trees have been left to the residents to maintain with the exception that the council currently cut the grass at very initial sides of this distributor road at the Cappahard/Oakleigh Wood roundabout.”

Responding to the motion, Eamon O’Dea, Senior Executive Engineer, stated, “Clare County Council has engaged a contractor to carry out remedial works on this scheme with the intention of completing the taking in charge process this year.

At present the Council do not undertake grass cutting in housing schemes that are taken in charge by the council. The Council has a well-established policy on what areas are included in the grass cutting contract: Areas traditionally maintained by the council; Areas of significant public interest (along approach roads etc.); Local Authority Housing Developments and Public amenity areas.

“Adding additional areas will add cost and set precedence. A significant budget increase would be required. Resident Associations are encouraged to seek a Community Grant from the council to assist in their open space maintenance costs.”

Councillor Paul Murphy commented that the Cappahard estate is “an exception rather than a rule”. While Councillor Pat Daly stated “the council should be in a position to cut the grass, it’s a very large estate.” Councillor Clare Colleran Molloy suggested that costings be sought for the works.

Mr O’Dea stated that the council would look at the matter and come back to the councillors, however he cautioned that the local authority only has certain funds.

Leonore O’Neill, senior executive officer, confirmed the council have had similar requests from a number of estates in the Ennis Municipal District, suggesting the issue form part of the council’s budgetary discussions.

She did point out that increasing the number of estates maintained by the council would have “significant budgetary implications”.

Councillor Flynn argued that the situation at Cappahard is “unique” with the design of the estate not taking into consideration the needs of the people living there.

“The council are cutting a portion of grass there already, it’s just a matter of continuing it,” he said.

Carmel Kirby, director of service, stated she “completely understands” why the motion has come before the council, confirming the council will examine the location and explore what can be done.

She outlined the council allocates supports to communities to carry out works, saying this is “really important”.

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