Housing forum raises concerns about tower block ‘decommissioning’

Cllr Scott Carson, Cllr Nathan Anderson, Julie-Anne Jackson of Seymour Hill and Conway Residents' Association and Cllr Jonathan Craig outside Rathmoyne House, Seymour Hill.
Cllr Scott Carson, Cllr Nathan Anderson, Julie-Anne Jackson of Seymour Hill and Conway Residents' Association and Cllr Jonathan Craig outside Rathmoyne House, Seymour Hill.

A council body that deals with housing issues in the Lisburn and Castlereagh area has called for a meeting with the chief executive of the Housing Executive over proposals that could see the demolition of NIHE tower blocks.

Responding to revelations that the Housing Executive is to begin consulting with residents in its 33 multi-storey blocks across Northern Ireland about the future of the high-rise flats and the possible “decommissioning” of some of the buildings, Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Housing Liaison Forum has called for “clarity” on the NIHE’s plans.

Five of the tower blocks are located in Seymour Hill, Dunmurry, and forum representatives say they have been contacted by residents concerned about the future of their homes.

DUP Cllr Nathan Anderson, Chairman of the LCCC Housing Liaison Forum, said: “There is still unclarity regarding the plans for demolition and also how this impacts the local housing stock, tenancies and apartment owners.

“As a result, we have asked for the chief executive of NIHE to attend the next meeting of the forum. We will be asking very searching questions of the senior management in the NIHE.”

DUP Cllr Jonathan Craig commented: “We will be looking at these proposals in detail and seeking clarification from the NIHE how this impacts the people of the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area. This obviously has very serious implications locally and we will want to ensure that residents’ concerns are dealt with.”

Their party colleague, Cllr Scott Carson added: “We have been contacted by a number of concerned residents. There will soon be a public consultation launched regarding these proposals. We will be fully engaging in this consultation and would recommend that people would do the same.”

The NIHE has said the health, safety and comfort of tenants is its priority, and stressed that the tower blocks are now reaching an age at which “significant investment” is required.

“The approach that has been agreed by the board is to consult with residents, political representatives and the wider community about future plans for each of the tower blocks and surrounding neighbourhoods.

“This includes the decommissioning of tower blocks over an agreed extended time period and further exploration of future housing options available at each location,” a spokesperson said.