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Planning bond crux leaves ‘locked out’ couple in limbo

A YOUNG couple who are “locked out” of a new house in a Killaloe ghost estate have claimed Clare County Council’s failure to call in a planning bond for the original application has left them in a frustrating “limbo”.

Michelle Burke and William Buck (both 33), are renting a house in Ballina, despite buying a house at Ard na Deirge, Killaloe on September 7, 2006. They paid a booking deposit in 2006 and were ready to draw down the remainder of the mortgage in December 2009, when a receiver from KPMG was appointed by AIB after the original developer ran into financial difficulties.

This meant services were not connected to the house, which left them unable to move in. The bank will not release the remainder of the funds until the house is completed by having services connected.

The couple are planning to stage a protest outside the estate next Tuesday at 1pm. Along with John Ryan Senior and Junior, who also can’t gain access to their two houses in the estate, the couple have asked that people throughout the county lend their support by attending the demonstration at the gates of the estate near Benson Box.

The council stated this week it is fully aware of this development and very much understands the difficult circumstances the couple find themselves in. “The council has met with the receiver a number of times regarding issues with this development. A revised planning permission was granted by An Bord Pleanála for development in May 2012 to AIB. This permission includes specific conditions relating to the site (house) owned by Ms Burke.

“The council is not in a position to draw down a bond when a ‘live’ planning permission is in place. The focus now is to ensure completion of the development as approved by An Bord Pleanála in 2012 and the council will work with all parties towards  achieving this.

“The council continues to hold a bond in relation to the development,” a spokesman explained

The couple have spent €264,000 on the house in Ard na Deirge. This includes the €35,000 deposit, €150,000 drawn down from the mortgage, mortgage repayments, mortgage protection, a Bord Pleanála appeal, building insurance, solicitor’s fees and other costs. They are also paying €740 a month in mortgage payments as well as €650 in rent, having spent about €27,000 in rent in total.

Michelle Burke said the couple have been advised that the old bond attached to the original planning application is now dead as a result of the council allowing a new planning application to be processed by AIB.
Ms Burke has this week asked that Clare County Council provide the name of the planning director of services when Ard na Deirge was granted planning permission in 2004.

In a statement issue to The Clare Champion, Ms Burke stated they also wished to know who allowed a new planning application to go through without consultation with all stakeholders. She claimed the council failed to liaise with them after an initial meeting in May 2010 and allowed the new planning permission to be processed without procuring the services on the old bond linked to the original permission.

While AIB submitted an application to the council in 2011 for the completion of the 27 houses in the estate following the appointment of the receiver KMPG, Ms Burke noted the three finished houses with unconnected services were not included or addressed as part of this planning application. “We  believe the council’s lack of actions though its decision not to utilise the original bond to complete the existing part of this estate in this instance is arbitrary and unfair.

“Such drastic inaction on the council’s part has had a devastating effect on our lives.

“We request confirmation from the council of whether we have a valid planning certificate for our house since we are excluded from the new planning,” she said.


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