Northern Ireland

Plan for new social housing estate in west Belfast approved despite over objections

Development in the Lagmore area was given the green light by councillors

Aerial view of the new development site in the Lagmore area of west Belfast.
Aerial view of the new development site in the Lagmore area of west Belfast.

A controversial plan for a new social housing residential estate in west Belfast has been approved despite over one hundred objections.

At a special meeting of Belfast City Council’s Planning Committee, members unanimously approved an application for a development in the Lagmore area comprising 43 social units including houses and apartments, new car parking, landscaping and a new children’s play area.

The application by Dromore-based Newpark Developments would see the demolition of the Christ the Redeemer Parish Hall.

Council planning officers recommended the application for approval. The developer has offered a “contribution” of £27,581 towards enhanced open space off Creighton Road.

The council received 106 objections relating to the application, while none of the statutory consultees were against the plan.

Objectors outlined a variety of concerns, including the loss of the church hall for girl guides and childcare, and stated there was “no consideration” to those existing business and voluntary organisations who operate from the existing hall.

Objectors also raised potential problems concerning traffic disruption and parking, and said there was “overhousing” in the area. They raised issues concerning potential anti-social behaviour, sewage capacity, loss of privacy, and impact on flora and fauna.

Local resident Martin Bell made a representation to councillors during the committee meeting at Belfast City Hall.

“Like myself, many residents support the need for additional social housing in the area,” he said.

“But this must be done where the infrastructure and environment permits. Not just jamming houses into every available space. The latter is not a sustainable policy, and has the appearance of social engineering.”

“The proposed loss of the last available green space in Lagmore is not acceptable. Suggestions such as the developer providing money towards a playpark in Twinbrook as an offset is laughable.”

The council report states: “The (application will) provide valuable social housing for which there is a significant unmet need in this part of West Belfast. The loss of open space and loss of a community facility are considered, on balance, acceptable given the substantial community benefits derived through the provision of the social housing and provision of a financial developer contribution for improving open space facilities in the area.”