SDLP call for car park to be turned into social housing space

Frank Dempsey, MLA Nichola Mallon and councillor Paul McCusker in north Belfast. Picture by Hugh Russell.
Connla Young

North Belfast MLA Nichola Mallon has called on Belfast City Council chiefs to make a car park in north Belfast available for social housing.

Earlier this year Choice Housing contacted the council about the purchase of a car park in the Little Donegall Street area of Carrick Hill on the outskirts of the city centre.

The area was included in the controversial Northside Regeneration plan, which suffered a blow in 2016 when the Department for Social Development withdrew support.

Choice Housing wants to build 20 apartments and eight homes on the car park site.

Frank Dempsey form the Carrick Hill Residents Association has called on political parties to back the plan.

The SDLP assembly member said north Belfast has “one of the highest waiting lists for social housing”.

“I have written to the chief executive of Belfast City Council calling on the council to immediately avail of this opportunity given the housing crisis in North Belfast and make this site available for social homes,” she said.

A spokeswoman for the council said it is “considering he request within the wider context of the master plan for the area, and our citywide car parking strategy”.

She also raised concerns about a vacant site at nearby Library Street is which she said is “currently being used as a dumping ground for materials being lifted to facilitate the laying of the rapid transit system in west Belfast”.

“We’ve made it clear to the Department for Communities that family homes must be the priority for this site,” she said.

A DfC spokesman said they would respond in due course.

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