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Friday, June 24, 2005

**** News Flash 24th June ****

Get your objection letter by clicking this link then email to one or many of the email addresses listed below

Milk Marketing Board Site 456 Antrim Road Skegoneill

Local residents groups Fortwilliam Action Committee, Cavehill Residents Action Group, and residents from Firmount, Chichester etc, have been meeting for the last year with the Housing Executive, Oaklee, Planners, Politicians, etc to bring about acceptable change to the original proposals for this site. Many residents will have recently received letters from Planning announcing the withdrawal of development proposals.

We would emphasise that no-one has any objections to public housing itself. The Antrim Road, and our immediate area, already includes abundant examples of social and special needs accommodation. Our objections focus on the scale, the density, the awful office-block conversions, the quality of the build, the precedent, and the potential sectarian/ flashpoint elements… Working with our local politicians on both sides, we would wish to see constructive alternatives.

Regrettably, however, the developers have just submitted NEW PLANNING PROPOSALS, to which the above community groups had objected, including;

Scale/ Density; A public housing "estate" of 34 houses and 33 flats (inc. 18 Singles)…with Resident Warden/s. Many believe that this high-density development on such a small site is wholly inappropriate for this area. It would also establish a precedent for similar major developments.

Cheap Conversion; Two of the (very ugly) current office blocks will be retained to be converted into flats. This cheap-fix, high-density conversion is necessary in order to make the development economically viable from the Housing Executive's/Oaklee's standpoint, and no doubt helps give the builder/ developer a handsome profit. Many people believe this tye of conversion is a failed social model, completely wrong for our area, and will be in no-one's long-term interest.

More to Come; Many are convinced this is only "Phase One" of an even larger estate. The current Milk Marketing Board land actually already includes Salisbury Bowling Club's rear car park and the Club's road access leading to Salisbury Avenue. The Club has also been approached by the MMB developer, and is ultimately likely to close. Furthermore, the MMB developer has also been negotiating for the purchase of the adjoining Electricity sub station on Salisbury… Both sites join on to MMB and would provide major potential for its expansion.

Sectarian/ Potential Flashpoint; Many residents in the immediate area are deeply worried that a development of this scale has the potential to destabilise the mixed element of our area, and even possibly introduce two new sectarian flashpoints;…one with Skegoneill, (via the front of the Antrim Road) and the other with Westland (via SalisburyAve. & Charnwood) These concerns are shared by other groups. This sensitive, but important issue needs to be explored in detail before proceeding.

Other objections; Some residents also object on the grounds of the increased traffic, the loss of the historic Salisbury Bowling Club amenity to the area, the impact on house prices, stability of the private sector, the lack of infrastructure to cope with such an influx of population to the area, the fact that the development is in a designated "Conservation Area", etc.

Public Protest and Objections have helped postpone this development so far… However, we must now object to these New Proposals.

Take a few minutes out for the sake of your neighbourhood. Write or E-mail your objection letter now!

Object to the new proposals. Demand that the proposed scheme be replaced with a development appropriate to the area, e.g. a smaller scale, or mixed development, joint public /private, frail elderly focus, a high quality design, no cheap-fix, office-block conversion, no phase two, and/ or explore other constructive options and elements.

REMEMBER, Wherever you live …on the Upper Antrim Road/ Castle/ Fortwilliam/ Skegoneill/ Cavehill area, this proposal will ultimately affect you.
" PLANNING DEPARTMENT…Essential you write/e-mail planners . When you've done that, write, copy to…
" THE HOUSING EXECUTIVE/ OAKLEE; These are public bodies which have a duty to listen to the views of local people. Key contacts below, then….
" YOUR LOCAL POLITICIANS…some have been very supportive, but not all… you must contact them and let them know your views.
" PSNI… If you have concerns, let them know.

See full contact details below; E-mail?…using the links below

1) PLANNERS; (Essential) Write to; John Cummins, (Quote;/1219/F) Planning Office
Bedford House BT2 2FD (90252800) E-Mail;

Paddy Mc Intyre, Director
NI Housing Executive 2 Adelaide St
Belfast BT2 8PB; Tel; 90 240588; E-mail;

Ian Elliot. Chief Executive
Oaklee Housing Association 37-41 May St
Belfast BT1 4DN …..Tel; 90 441300 E-mail;
Nigel Dodds, MP Cllr.MLA; 90774774; 210 Shore Road BT15 3QB ;
Ian Crozier Cllr. 07771657704; E-mail;
Nelson McCausland Cllr. MLA; 90717072 256 Ballysillan Road BT14 6RB

Alban Maginness Cllr MLA; 90 220520; 228 Antrim Road E-mail;
Cathal Mullaghan Cllr 07962 115777; 90 220920 E-mail;
Pat Convery Cllr 07836 34945190 289380; 228 Antrim Rd; E-mail;

Gerry Kelly MLA 90740817; 291 Antrim Road BT15 2GZ;
Kathy Stanton MLA ….as above…
Danny Lavery Cllr ……as above…
Tierna Cunningham …as above..

Fred Cobain MLA; 90729400; 921 Crumlin Road BT14 8AB;
David Browne Cllr; 07774424140; 90771757 Belfast City Hall BT1 5GS;
4) PSNI; Chief Supt Mike Little, Antrim Road 90 650222 E-mail;


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