A council has been told its failure to destroy Japanese Knotweed has risked mortgage offers in south Down.
Newry, Mourne and Down District Council (NMDDC) had been due to treat the invasive weed on lands at Mourne Drive, Warrenpoint since 2015, according to a council official.
However, the local authority has stated uncertainty over ownership of the land transferred from the legacy council has created a grey area over responsibility for weed control.
Crotlieve councillor, Mickey Ruane (SF) said: “There has been some factual comments made and some not so factual, by the council.
“There is a family who has applied to buy a home, but the mortgage was turned down because there is knotweed identified on the land.
“There was due to be some comfort letter from the council to the family.
“There was supposed to be spraying carried out over five years by the council on knotweed and hog weeds, but this only happened for one year and then it stopped.
“This is an ongoing issue and nobody has been able to get on top of it.
“A lot of things are made about this on the council floor, but nothing is done.
“The residents still have to deal with it. Morally we have responsibility.
“We need to sit down with the Housing Executive and whoever else is relevant to deal with it.
“We are now back to square one, when this was suppose to be dealt with some 10 to 12 years ago.”
Confusion over land and property map outlines has been suggested as a potential stumbling block when identifying ownership of the lands in question.
A council official said: “The strip of land in Warrenpoint seems to have been transferred over from the old legacy council to the Housing Executive, but we have not been able to convince them.
“We are investigating further over ownership of part of the land involving a Dungannon construction company.
“We have made phone calls and sent them letters, but there has been no response.
“The second part of the strip of land could be owned by the Housing Executive.
“However, we are also looking at the possibility of a misdrawing of the property lines when it was owned by the old council in the 1970s before being transferred.
“There is European legislation which categories plants and Knotweed is not in it.
“When it is DAERA will have new powers to address the problem.”