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Road Bonds: An Effective Security Measure?

Road Bonds Surety are often thought of as a security measure that you'll never have to use, but as the case of the Lindara development in Larne showed they can be essential.

During the Lindara housing development in Larne, County Antrim, Ireland, the company responsible for the build went into administration, leaving roads, footpaths, street lighting, storm drains, sewers and manholes incomplete.

£800,000 worth of Road Bonds Security were cashed in by the local council to cover the costs of completing the outstanding work.

At the time Roy Beggs Jr, Assemblyman for East Antrim, said that Lindara had the greatest length of incomplete footways and roads in Northern Ireland and the highest road bond value. Road Bonds are sums that private developers must deposit to ensure that roads, sewers, and street lights are properly built. If they are not completed as contracted, the Department for Regional Development uses the funds to pay for any outstanding work needed to complete roads, footpaths and other amenities.

Delay in Road Completions

Lindara residents had been waiting years for their infrastructure to be completed. They complained that tarmacking was still in progress, forcing homeowners to haul bins to the main entrance because lorry drivers refused to use uneven roads.

While it took time for the bonds valued at £795,260 to be cashed so that the road and sewer improvements could be adopted, without them in place, it is unclear if the roads would have been completed at all, and certainly not without a large public expense.

When finished, the items of infrastructure including roads and footpaths became adopted by the Department for Regional Development and NI Water, who will cover all ongoing maintenance costs as is typical with any new development carried out by a private developer. Bin collection, street cleaning, and other council services are now unimpeded, and public transport routes opened up.

Specialists in Structural Defects

An unadopted road exists when a street planning function has been implemented and a bond placed, but the Department is not convinced that it has been properly paved, leveled, sewered, lighted, and otherwise made ready.

In East Antrim there have been several occasions when people have bought and moved into private development homes, only to discover that the footpaths, roads, sewers, and drains are incomplete. The Private Street Order 1980 is intended to protect residents from this situation by requiring developers to ensure that their street designs meet the standard of the Roads Service.

The company which built Lindara failed to deliver on promises to finish roads and footpaths before going into administration, and the case offers a clear warning to councils, authorities and new home buyers on how they could be affected should a Road Bond not be in place for a private development.

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