Health and safety concerns raised over “insecure” Hilden Mill site following recent fires
A Lisburn and Castlereagh councillor has raised concerns over the ‘insecure and unstable’ Hilden Mill site in Lisburn.
DUP councillor Jonathan Craig urged the council to take action over the site which has been set ablaze twice in the last month.
The Lisburn north elected representative said that it had been “well over a year” since security was employed to secure the site in the Blaris area.
Cllr Craig also revealed that there had been a number of incidents where “young people were injured at the site.”
He said: “As a member of the board in the Northern Ireland Fire Service, I would have commended those members of the fire service who are working to bring this fire under control.
“It’s a major incident and it was explained to me when I attended the scene today that the fabric of the building has become so weak that they can’t actually send the fire service individuals into the building.
“There’s a fundamental issue and there should be powers in which the council can intervene on these issues.
“I would like the council to outline what powers the council has around this, what can be done and what communications have taken place with the owners of the mill?
“I can’t overemphasise how important it is to secure this site. I think it’s got to the stage now that the building itself might be insecure and with regard to anybody entering this building that is something that needs to be emphasised to the developer.”
Director of Environmental Service Heather Moore said that communications had been made with the Department for Communities and the owners of the site.
“We have had engagement with the historic environment division of DfC, the developer and the developers agent,” Ms Moore said.
“There is an ongoing dialogue with the developer and it’s specifically on the narrow focus on securing the site. They actually have contractors in place to be on site on June 24 to enhance and assess further measures.
“We have also agreed to meet the week of July 5 to evaluate what is needed because while the council does have powers it’s imperative that we engage with the developer to see what they can do.”
Meanwhile, Ulster Unionist councillor John Palmer said residents were concerned about the environmental health surrounding the site.
“The toxins coming from that site is having a serious impact on local people and they have been advised to keep their windows closed.
“I am worried about the long-term effects in regards to these toxins getting into the air and I think we need to keep these issues in mind as well.”