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Dublin: 10°C Wednesday 30 September 2020
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‘People walk around with torches’: Street lighting turned off in unfinished estate

The residents say that they were not told in advance that the lighting would be turned off.

Updated 9.57pm

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The view from Pat McGarry’s front drive. Pic: Pat McGarry

RESIDENTS HAVE BEEN left in the dark in their Kilcock housing estate after the street lighting was turned off last Thursday.

The picture above shows the driveway in Pat McGarry’s home, which is one of 311 houses and apartments in the Chambers Park estate. Around 1200 people live in the estate, which is an unfinished housing estate, said McGarry.

This evening, Kildare County Council said that “in light of the health and safety aspect to the public of the entire lighting of the estate not working”, the council is making arrangements with the utility company to restore the public lighting to the estate.

It will seek to recover any costs from the receiver/liquidator.

McGarry outlined the impact the lack of street lighting is having on the residents:

People are walking around now with torches. From 7pm onwards there is nobody out on the street.

Electric Ireland said this evening that it last received payment for the Chambers Park account from Glenford Builders Ltd on 2 April 2009.

It said that EI was notified on 20 October 2010 that KPMG were appointed as receivers as of 24 September the same year, and that on 5 August 2013 they were notified of the appointment of a liquidator to wind up Glenford Builders Ltd.

EI continued that on 24 January a KCC staff member informed them that “they were not taking responsibility for the payment of electricity bills for the public lighting and pumping station at Chambers Park”.

Electric Ireland said it wrote to the residents association and to KCC requesting that one of them take over responsibility for paying future electricity bills.

It also informed them that the electricity supply would be withdrawn after 16 February 2014 if nobody registered with Electric Ireland so that the supply could be placed in their name.

It said it did not receive written confirmation about the transfer of the account for future billing, so ESB Networks disconnected the electricity supply.

When it has been agreed who will take over the account for future billing, their supplier will need to contact ESB Networks so that arrangements can be put in place to reconnect supply.

Sewage

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Part of Chambers Park. Pic: Google

The power is also understood to have been turned off to the sewage pumping station, which pumps sewage for 40 homes.

The developers of Chambers Park were in receivership for four years before going into liquidation in January 2013, said McGarry.

McGarry told TheJournal.ie that the youngest resident in Chambers Park is three days old, while the oldest is 85.

“It’s so serious it’s comical,” said McGarry. “There’s nothing that the residents have done wrong.”

He said that the residents were not informed that the street lights were due to be turned off, and only found out after contacting the ESB Networks when the lighting did not turn on.

Chambers Park

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Pic: Google

Chambers Park is a private estate but there are some local authority apartments there.

“I can’t see my car from my front window,” said McGarry.

“We have had some anti-social behaviour issues in the estate over last few months,” he added, saying that local gardaí have agreed to step up their patrols while there is no street lighting in the area.

I have a lady who goes to mass every evening; she says she can’t go to mass. I’ve had to ask residents to make sure their children are in by 7pm at night because it’s too dark.

He added that because the estate is unfinished the final layer of tarmac has not yet been put on the road, and that there are “major pothole issues”.

“These things cannot be seen because it’s so dark,” he said.

He is the chairperson of the residents’ committee and moved into the estate eight years ago.

Residents have been in discussion with Kildare County Council over the last eight years in an effort to get the council to take charge of the estate, but so far this has not happened.

Kildare County Council told TheJournal.ie this evening that the developer is responsible for the payment of power and the maintenance of lights under the estate is taken in charge.

It described the turning off of public lights because of non-payment of bills as “a mater for the utility company and the bill payer”, and noted that KCC is not the bill payer in this case.

The council said it “is a matter for the utility company to inform the customer/bill payer when disconnections are proposed”.

TheJournal.ie has contacted ESB Networks.

- First published 11.40am

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