Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Maskey highlights concerns at Housing Executive Conference

27 April, 2006


South Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey, speaking today after attending a Housing Executive conference to discuss the Executive's South Belfast Sector Study, expressed his view that "the Executive's study shows how housing and planning policies have failed the South Belfast constituency thus far".

Cllr Maskey MLA said,

"I welcomed this report when it was published as it identified the huge problems which we are faced with in this area of the city. And I would also welcome the fact that this meeting gave a forum for communities and their representatives to respond to the study.

"The stark reality is that South Belfast is a 'housing contradiction'. I believe that the Executive's study shows how housing and planning policies have failed the South Belfast constituency thus far.

"While welcoming the fact that the study itself was carried out, it is my firm belief that what it shows is that:

(1) the Housing Executive are not doing enough to acquire land for social housing in areas with high waiting lists.

(2) There is an overdevelopment of apartments being built for property speculation, and yet many more are being given planning permission.

(3) Many apartments lie empty in an area which has 635 people registered homeless, and first time buyers are priced out of the housing market.

(4) Landlords are keeping families out of the housing market by converting many properties into HMO's. The proliferation of HMO's has a detrimental effect on the community.

(5) The Housing Executive has no strategic plan or policy to provide adequate housing to meet the demand in South Belfast. Property developers and landlords are forcing house prices sky high. Uncontrolled planning is leading to:- high waiting lists, high prices, high number of hidden homeless, districts with no sustainable communities.

"It is my hope that the Housing Executive will take on board the many views which exist on this study. Many of which were highlighted today." ENDS

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