RUC Barracks Make Way For Social Housing

A modest development of 15 family homes are to replace a former inner-city police station in the North.

The Stormont Social Development Minister, Alex Attwood has welcomed the acquisition of the former site of Mountpottinger police station in the nationalist Short Stand area for social housing.

Currently there are 104 people waiting to be re-housed in the area, with the SDLP Minister commenting: "I welcome that the Department for Social Development (DSD) has again acquired land for new community uses. Given current housing need and the likely increasing stress over the next five years new build social housing is vital and essential going forward. The Mountpottinger site will help but much remains to be done and more money is needed.

"As a Department, I have instructed my officials and housing associations to look at innovative and creative ways of meeting housing need such as former military sites like Girdwood or former government buildings such as the Andersonstown Benefits office.

"This maximises government assets for the best use in the community, which they previously served," he said.

A housing association will now be appointed to take forward the development of this site that could provide up to 15 new family homes with community consultation beginning once an association has been appointed.

The Minister continued: "My Department has made great inroads into turning former sites of conflict and contention such as Girdwood, Lisanelly, and now Mountpottinger into future sites for families, serving the people of Northern Ireland."

Sinn Féin Pottinger representative Niall Ó Donnghaile also welcomed the news. When it was first mooted last summer, Mr Ó Donnghaile said: "Very soon after his appointment as the new Social Development Minister I wrote to Alex Attwood urging him to urgently acquire the Mountpottinger Barracks site for the development of much needed social homes.

"I am glad to say that on this occasion the response from the DSD has gone further than Mr Attwood's predecessor ever would in relation developing housing on this site.

"The argument around the retention of Mountpottinger has been had and it has been won. The astronomical cost to retain it was simply too much for the taxpayer to bear and the base was redundant in terms of modern, effective and community orientated policing in east Belfast. Its retention was simply unjustifiable."

Mountpottinger Housing Bid Welcomed


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