Northern Ireland news

Owner of popular Belfast restaurant considering relocation due to anti-social behaviour

Mourne Seafood on Bank Street, Belfast
Matt Fox

THE owner of a popular Belfast city centre restaurant has said he is considering relocating following an upsurge in anti-social behaviour at a neighbouring apartment block.

The Dream Pods property at Bank Street is being used by the Housing Executive to provide temporary accommodation for homeless people.

Belfast City Council has confirmed it is now facing a planning enforcement case.

The news comes in the wake of concerns raised by Mourne Seafood Bar owner Bob McCoubrey over a growing problem of anti-social behaviour in the area.

Branding the situation a "disgrace" he said his team was at "the end of their tether".

The body of a man was found in the apartment block last Wednesday morning. His death is not being treated as suspicious.

Speaking to Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster today Mr McCoubrey claimed there was inadequate management at the property.

“We’ve warned the Housing Executive. We’ve warned Department for Communities.We’ve warned Belfast City Council that this is an accident waiting to happen and sadly something has happened,” he added.

Mr McCoubrey said unless something is done he would be left with no choice but to move.

In a statement Belfast City Council said a planning enforcement case has been opened in relation to accommodation.

"Council has also engaged directly with the Housing Executive after receiving a complaint from a business owner about alleged drug use and anti-social behaviour at this site," a spokesman said.

“Staff from our Safer Neighbourhood and Outreach teams were tasked to the area to offer support, and we continue to work closely with our partners in statutory, community and voluntary organisations to support them in tackling these complex issues and ending long-term homelessness in the city.”

A Department for Communities spokesman said the minister was committed "to addressing homelessness and will ensure housing services identify those at risk, provide support, and make any stay in temporary accommodation as short as possible."

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