Public meeting to discuss housing plan

A PUBLIC meeting is being held on Monday, December 3, in Harmony Hill Primary School at 8pm to discuss Clanmill Housing plans for area.

Local community workers have appealed for calm in the run up to Monday’s meeting .Young people in the area have been asked to attend ‘and not cause any trouble’.

Meanwhile Lagan Valley MLA Trevor Lunn has said the best option for the former MoD houses in the area would be for them to be bought by a Housing Association for use as social housing.

In last week’s Star it was reported that residents had concerns that Clanmil Housing Association had plans to purchase houses in Mountview Drive. Residents were angered by the lack of public consultation surrounding the purchase and expressed concern about who exactly would be moved into the houses.

Mr Lunn said residents should “not get carried away by prophecies of all sorts of troublemakers being moved in, it just will not happen.”

Mr Lunn continued: “The demand for 'social housing' and the underprovision of it in the Lisburn area is acknowledged by everyone, especially political parties and the Council.

“Inevitably, concern has been expressed in some quarters and a campaign has begun to resist the proposal but I wish to pose some questions to those organising that campaign and to the people of the area generally.

“Put simply what is the best outcome and the best use of the houses now empty and not to be occupied again by Army personnel? Is it to leave them as they are and suffer the inevitable vandalism, antisocial behaviour and general neglect which will follow? Is it for the MoD to place them on the open market, to be sold at rock bottom prices thus depressing even further property values in Lambeg? They could well go to private landlords who would be able to rent them to anyone they chose, without any control.

“Should they be given over to a reputable Housing Association who will bring them back to a good standard, populate them with families who may or may not have the ability to pay their own rent but who are identified as being in dire need of satisfactory accommodation, subject to a lease agreement which demands certain standards and which can be enforced by the Housing association?

“I know which looks like the best option to me. People are on the housing list currently because they have lost their homes, because they cannot raise a deposit to purchase even at today's prices or because they simply do not have the means to make ends meet. Some are families who have outgrown their present dwelling space.

“They are not on the list because they are criminals or socially undesirable or bad neighbours and to suggest that is an insult to the thousands who live in 'social housing' and take the same pride in their house and their neighbourhood as any homeowner.

“Lambeg is a settled mixed housing area and this proposal, if it proceeds need not affect that. Loyalist graffiti and protest movements will do more to tarnish the area than a few more rented units.

“I appeal to everybody in Lambeg and beyond to take a considered look at the situation and not get carried away by prophecies of all sorts of troublemakers being moved in, it just will not happen. Some of your relatives could be looking for a house. Finally I grew up in a rented Housing trust property as did most of my generation,” concluded Mr Lunn.