Snub for Drumahoe residents

SDLP Colr. Martin Reilly
SDLP Colr. Martin Reilly

Residents of the Copperthorpe estate in Drumahoe must pay to look after their own sewers and roads, the Transport Minister has confirmed.

Transport Minister Danny Kennedy said this week that because the developer of Copperthorpe hadn’t signed a ‘bond agreement’ before going into administration, phase three of the Copperthorpe development is not covered by his Department.

The Minister confirmed that the Copperthorpe residents are responsible for their own sewers and roads in a reply letter sent to Waterside SDLP Councillor Martin Reilly.

Mr Reilly said that the Minister’s response has now been hand delivered to all affected householders in the Copperthorpe area.

The local councillor has campaigned for some time for the Copperthorpe site to be adopted, in its entirety, by the Department.

This week’s confirmation that the residents must pay comes as a blow after the long campaign.

In response to Councillor Reilly’s queries, Transport Minister Danny Kennedy outlined his position on bond values and the estimated cost of remedial works for phases I and II: “Transport NI has been active in determining both the extent of the works required and the estimated cost. The remedial works are substantial and include relaying / relining of a large diameter storm sewer, rectification of carriageway and footway defects and laying of a wearing course on the carriageway. It is accepted that there is a considerable difference between the bond amount and the value of the outstanding works.”

Regarding Phase III, Mr Kennedy said: “Agreement of a bond arrangement for Copperthorpe Phase III was in progress during 2011 when the developer went into administration without a bond agreement being signed. My Department has been engaging with the administrator in an effort to get a bond arrangement in place but, to date, this has not been successful.

“By virtue of this, Phase III is not covered by the Private Streets Order and my Department has no remit to progress adoption of the roads and sewerage infrastructure. The Private Streets Order states that in the absence of a bond, the responsible persons with respect to bringing the roads up to an adoptable standard are the frontagers (home owners that front the street / road).

“If a new developer was to purchase this phase to build out the remainder of the housing, my Department would take all the necessary action afforded to them under the Private Streets Order to ensure that all of roads infrastructure within this phase of the development were bonded.”

The minister added: “In this case, officials advise that homeowners should consult with the conveyance solicitor they engaged to buy their home.”