Cherrygarth: Anger among residents as disruptive works continuePadraig Conlon 02 Feb 2023
DURING 2022 we regularly reported on the daily difficulties being confronted by the residents of Cherrygarth, a small estate near Stillorgan as a result of living with two major construction projects.
We went back there last week to see how things progressed over the Christmas period and were astounded to learn that if anything the plight of people living there has got worse.
We heard from residents who complained of limited access their homes, inability of waste collection lorries to access the area, of constant noise, mud covered roads, dust and general disruption to their lives.
One resident likened the Christmas break to a cease fire on a war front.
For ten days an air of normality prevailed in the area and people could go about their daily lives unhindered.
We were told that for the past three weeks all the disruption, noise and dirt has again become a feature of daily life.
It seems to residents that no number of complaints to Dun Laoghaire Rathdown CC results in any action by the authorities.
Planning enforcement and HSA seems to ignore blatant breaches of planning regulations, planning conditions, health and safety issues.
One resident told us that a council official told him he was sending a litter warden to issue fines.
We are flabbergasted to think that a €100 fine is going to solve the issues being complained about.
All the Cherrygarth issues again raises questions around the willingness and ability of local authorities and especially DLR to monitor and enforce planning and building regulations.
On the question of Noise and dust monitoring Councillor John Kennedy raised this issue at a meeting of the DLR Dundrum area councillors on September 26 and he was told by the manager of Planning Enforcement that the contractor involved measures noise and dust levels and submits the results to the Council.
Why not make these reports available to impacted residents who appear to be sceptical of even the existence of such reports and told us that what they were being told by council officials is at total variance with their experience. Self-certification and self-monitoring do not work.
We were shocked at the level of anger and disillusionment among residents we spoke to.
It appears that DLR depends on developer /builders to do all monitoring and certification.
As we have seen on numerous occasions self-certification frequently results in a very expensive mess for the citizen/consumer.
Over recent decades we have seen the disastrous consequences of self-monitoring of building regulations by the construction industry.
Have we learned nothing from the issues of unchecked implementation of fire regulations in apartment blocks constructed in the 2000 to 2010 period or the mica problem? Or the ignoring of fire regulations?
According to recent estimates the taxpayer is now liable for at least €50 billion to repair issues directly resulting from self-certification over the past 20 years.
This issue will certainly repeat itself in 5-10 years’ time.
A future government will again ask taxpayers to pay billions to compensate houseowners for current shoddy building practises.
And developers are protected from any liability for their defects. Almost all building projects are done by companies set up for the project and are liquidated as soon as the project is completed.
Issues with building standards which arise afterwards become the the responsibility of the householder and if the problems are widespread like apartment fire precautions the government conveniently place the burden of remediation on the taxpayer.
A convenient way for the government to protect individual developers and builders.
No doubt in future years the taxpayer will have to pay up for the non-enforcement of current building regulations in areas like Cherrygarth?