“Hole in the ground” has cost local authority €1 million

21 January 2011 5 Comments by The Northern Standard

Monaghan Town Council is taking legal advice on whether to continue its involvement with the mixed used development project in the town centre beyond the restoration of car-parking at the site, Town Manager David Fallon told Monday night’s meeting of the authority.
It was confirmed at the meeting that the developers, Clarkes, were to fill in the site of the stalled project – referred to disparagingly in the locality as “the hole in the ground” – and restore the car-parking that originally existed there.
However, the timescale for completion of the operation was estimated at a year given the nature of the works involved and the need for a new application for planning permission to be submitted.
Replying to questions from Mary Carroll, who asked if, after the filling in of the site, it was the developers’ intention to revive the mixed use project if economic times improved, Mr Fallon said this was the proposal that was put to the Council, but the Council was looking at this from a legal point of view, as they were obliged to do, in order to determine what was the best case scenario from the Council’s point of view and whether they should abandon involvement in the project.
To Donal Sherry, the Manager said that the Council had to take legal advice on a number of questions, and he would not be prompting a quick decision on the issue.
“We will take legal and financial advice on this and will come back to you on the matter,” Mr Fallon told the members. “It will be kept on the agenda.”
A detailed outline of the expenditure incurred by the Council in leasing temporary car-parking space because of work on the development, and the reimbursement payments which the developers had made to the Council in this regard, was provided to the members in response to questions tabled by Independent councillor Seamus Treanor.
The Manager told the meeting that the mixed use project had cost the Council approximately €1 million to date, through the leasing charges and an investment of €339,270 in the project in the form of legal fees and other costs. However, a total of €535,000 had been received thus far from Clarkes. The Council was also protected by a bond in the sum of almost €2.5 million.
A lengthy and at times heated debate on the controversial development took place on Monday night, with Colr Treanor, a long-time opponent of the project, objecting strongly to the fact that details of the intention by Clarkes to fill in the site and restore car-parking had been made public through a media statement by Sinn Féin TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin a day after a discussion of the matter took place in committee at the December meeting of the Town Council.
At the outset, Town Manager David Fallon said the matter could not be gone into in public at the last Council meeting because there were some issues that the Council had to discuss with Clarkes.
He pointed out that for the developers to fill in the site and restore the car-park they would have to bring in material, and look for planning permission for the work. The permission as it stood was for the mixed use development, and that would now have to be changed because of the law as it stood.
Full report in The Northern Standard

5 Comments »

  • John Wilson said:

    Monaghan Town Council should cash in the Bond it Holds for €2,300,000 as Clarkes did not complete the contract.

    The council has incurred costs of almost €800,000 to date, & has got nothing in return, ONLY Disruption to Rate Payers & Bussinesses in Monaghan Town. The Council will continue to incurr COSTS OF OVER €300,000 PER YEAR untill the Carpark & or Original DEVELOPMENT IS COMPLETED.

    Town Manager David Fallon told Monday night’s meeting of the authority.
    It was confirmed at the meeting that the developers, Clarkes, were to fill in the site of the stalled project – referred to disparagingly in the locality as “the hole in the ground” – and restore the car-parking that originally existed there.
    However, the timescale for completion of the operation was estimated at a year given the nature of the works involved and the need for a new application for planning permission to be submitted

  • Robert said:

    The now infamous ‘Hole in The Ground’ is a local pysical wound, much lke many other ‘holes in the ground’ and abandoned building sites and housing developments, that continue to fester and weep to us throughout the country. And having had some experience of dealing with the parish pump nature of local authorities and local government in Ireland, you can be sure that there will be no local accountability. Rather it will be left to the tax & rate payers and the ordinary person to try and heal the wounds and tend to the scars. And these scars may heal over but the mental anguish will remain forever in the psyce of this great country. Reading between the lines of the local authorities response there is absolutly no sense of explanation as to how they have brought us to this position.

    Further were are the questions?

    Who from the local authority was in charge?
    Who made the decision to proceed with this project.? It was obvious even then that the bubble was about to burst.
    Why where no questions asked about the delays that became obvious early on in the project?
    What other options were explored by the local authority when it became obvious that the project was in trouble?
    If it was not obvious to those in charge that the project was in trouble, either they had ‘taken thier eye of the ball’ or they had not the skills to look behind the issues?

    Again where will local authority accountability rest? Or are they saying that they had total confidence in Clarkes to deliver the project and so there was little need for local authority oversight? If so this was niave and so we are left with an utterly useless multi-million euro hole in the ground.

  • John Wilson said:

    The article in Northern Standard ref Hole In The Ground is well informed, However there is no decision By Monaghan Council to recoup the Monies, outstanding:

    Cash In the Bond which is Owed to Monaghan by The Clarke Group ( who own DPT Mixed use Developments )of €2,300,000 ;and complete the first Phas, which is to Build Underground Car Park; Make Clarke Group, contribute the Difference in cost of completing Underground Carpark to Ground Level.

    Therefore if and when Economy of Monaghan & Country Improves, we will be ready for it.

    Do Not Employ Cntractors who have not paid their Subcontractors, Put in Place a mechanism to hold Retention on Project Untill all suppliers & Subcontractors Paid, or use the existing Mechanism as used by Government in paying out Grants on Farmers Sheds Waste Management Scheme. ALL Invoices had to be SUBMITTED SIGNED & STAMPED PAID BEFORE FARMER GOT HIS / HER GRANT

  • Mia said:

    Hole in the ground costs ORDINARY People 1 million, there has always and will continue to be, an attitude that the local authorities in this country have some kind of heirarchy, even though all properties and so forth are indeed owned by the Government of our country, ie., ours, taxpayers, the staff in our esteemed local authorities are of the opinion that THEY are actually the owners of all things local. This whole country is full of corrupt, devious idiots.

  • OJD said:

    As a former Monaghan lad I did not know that Monaghan had such a big hole. Kimberly in South Africa has a big hole but then it produced many dimonds, what did the Monaghan big hole produce, by what I have read nothing but hardship and lost rate payers money. Do you think if they continued digging they might find oil.