Margaret Ritchie calls for rates relief to those on “ghost estates”

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Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
SDLP MLA for South Down Margaret Ritchie, has called for those who live on “ghost estates” to receive a rates exception. People are forced to live in areas with half finished developments as developers could not afford to finish them following the crash of the property market. In Northern Ireland alone there are approximately 5000 unfinished homes and Ms Ritchie has called for Finance Minister Sammy Wilson to show mercy to those living without proper sewage facilities, lighting, footpaths and other issues. The former SDLP leader said, “I have been inundated with representations from constituents who reside in unfinished private housing estates where the roads, water and sewage facilities, footpaths and street lighting provision have not been brought up to an adoptable standard.” “The Department of Finance and Personnel is still demanding full rates from each of the occupants in these private residential estates. This is unjustified in the current economic circumstances where those residents do not possess the full facilities.” She continued, “This is an unacceptable situation and the minister must demonstrate a level of mercy in these cases and ensure that exemptions are provided for residents in these estates where the infrastructure has not been brought up to an adoptable standard.” “As a result of applications and appeals from ratepayers in some developments of this nature, a number of properties have received reductions from LPS in their rateable valuations to reflect the difficult local circumstances,” the statement said. Ms Ritchie concluded by saying, “Ratepayers should make Land & Property Services aware of any significant long-term issues that may warrant a reduction in the rateable capital value and therefore rate liability. Any applications for a reduction in valuation received by the district valuer will be considered.”
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