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Holylands strategic report cost public almost £60,000

The Holylands in south Belfast on St Patrick's Day last year. Picture by Hugh Russell
Brendan Hughes

A REPORT aimed at tackling problems in south Belfast's Holylands area, which residents say was only "half implemented", cost the public almost £60,000.

The Holyland and Wider University Area Strategic Study was published in 2012 and included recommendations on addressing anti-social behaviour in the mainly student area.

Overall the study cost £58,410 including £15,000 from Belfast City Council, £17,205 from the Housing Executive, and £3,000 each from Queen's University, Ulster University and Belfast Metropolitan College.

Permanent residents claim many of the recommendations that would benefit them have never been acted upon.

Brid Ruddy, of the College Park Avenue Residents' Association, said: "I don't necessarily think the sum of money was unusual. What I think was a waste was that the findings weren't implemented.

"What was implemented was all of the things related to students. What wasn't implemented was any of the things related to residents.

"I would say half of the report has been implemented and they need to look at what they have to do for residents."

The cost was disclosed in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Belfast City Council said the short and medium-term recommendations were implemented, while the longer-term proposals were merged with other strategies and are being progressed through the Local Development Plan and Belfast Agenda.

"Through a citywide consultation process, local communities had the opportunity to comment on the Local Development Plan and Belfast Agenda. Where possible, feedback and comments have been incorporated into future plans," a spokesman said.

"Additionally, through the Learning City Interagency Group, a programme of work has been developed which delivers short to medium term projects which includes action to restore the physical and social integrity of the wider university area. Laganbank PACT [Partners and Communities Together] have been consulted on the current action plan.

"Council has and continues to provide significant time and resource to support the Holyand and wider university area."

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