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Cllr Conor Maskey Welcomes SDLP U-Turn on Hillman St Flats

2 September, 2009

Sinn Fein’s New Lodge Councillor Conor Maskey has welcomed the decision at this month’s full council meeting to reject the Planning Committee’s opinion that 12 flats could be built in the New Lodge area’s Hillman Street.

Conor also pointed to the fact that if it weren’t for a change of heart by councillors from other parties the plans for the flats would have gotten the go ahead.

Planning approval was sought for12 flats to be built on the site of McCrory Memorial Presbyterian Church, with access from Hillman Street.

Last month the Planning committee endorsed the Planning Office’s opinion to approve this development by a vote of 5-4, with Sinn Fein’s four councillors standing alone in opposition.

Mr Maskey then brought a proposal to the full council seeking an overturn of the committee’s decision.

Speaking afterwards Cllr Maskey said:

“I asked the full council meeting to reconsider the planning committee’s opinion that these flats would be given the green light on two basis: (1) There are no flats currently in Hillman Street and this would set a dangerous precedent; and (2) The residents of the long streets have been messed about too much through the on-going saga regarding redevelopment that this would be the last thing they needed and could, in fact, sway the redevelopment issue further away.

“I purposefully asked for last night’s vote to be recorded because some councillors, and in particular the SDLP’s Alban Maginess, spoke against our position at committee stage and abstained from the vote, effectively ensuring the flats would get committee approval.

“I welcome Alban’s sudden turnaround on the issue last night and would appeal to the Planning office to respect the will of the council, but more importantly the residents, when making their final decision.” ENDS

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