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CESI Partner Community Continues Campaign for Quality Housing for Residents

CESI’s South Belfast community partner has expressed concerns about a proposed social housing development in the Market area.

CESI’s South Belfast community partner has expressed concerns about a proposed social housing development in the Market area.

Plans have been submitted for a four-storey building on Verner Street comprising 15 apartments, office space and ancillary development. The Market Development Association (MDA), which is spearheaded by local residents, says the proposed apartments will offer “substandard design and living conditions”.

The proposals were recommended for approval ahead at a meeting of the Belfast City Council planning committee on the 20 April. However, a number of objections have been raised about the development by the Market Development Association, Ulster Architectural Heritage, and Pragma Planning stating “apartments are too small, have extremely poor amenity space, and several will effectively have no sunlight for most of the year” with one resident describing them as akin to “rabbit hutches”.

Concerns were also raised around fire safety and impact on local built heritage including the nearby St  George’s Market.

In a letter to city councillors, Fionntán Hargey of the MDA said that while people in the area “welcome, and campaign strongly for, increased housing provision in the area they expect this to be of a certain quality and standard. As it stands, this plan does not succeed in providing a healthy, sustainable and quality living environment,” he wrote. As a result of these objections, a decision on the plans has been postponed so that further engagement with the Community can take place.

Professor Brendan Murtagh, CESI’s Lead for Cities & Communities commended the campaign: "Great work by MDA, protecting the heritage of Belfast and proper homes for local people".

CESI will continue to work with the MDA to assist them with the consultation with residents around this development.

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