Local political representatives are to call on the Secretary of State to take action to help progress a major social housing scheme near Lisburn.
According to Lisburn North DUP Councillors Jonathan Craig and Scott Carson, the hand over of 59 former Ministry of Defence (MoD) properties in Lambeg to Clanmil Housing Group has been stalled due to the ongoing political impasse at Stormont.
Cllrs Craig and Carson have now asked Lagan Valley MP Sir Jeffrey Donaldson to contact Secretary of State James Brokenshire in a bid to ensure the social housing scheme at Mountview is progressed as soon as possible.
Following a recent meeting with a senior Department for Communities official and local residents, the DUP representatives are hoping that Mr Brokenshire will step in and instruct the department to transfer the 59 vacant properties to the housing association.
A statement issued by Councillors Craig and Carson explained: “Following vandalism and anti-social behaviour taking place to a number of the vacant MoD properties in the Mountview area concerns have been raised through local community representatives.
“We have been engaging with these groups and the Department for Communities throughout the process of transfer of these homes, however due to no Executive being formed this process cannot be completed. Responsibility for the properties falls on the department, who cannot act further until instructed to do so by the Secretary of State at present.
“In light of this we have agreed to engage with our colleague Sir Jeffrey who will assist in raising this issue with James Brokenshire prior to the dissolution of Parliament and support has also been given by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council to make representation.”
The DUP representatives added: “A resolution to this impasse would pave the way for these properties to be secured, refurbished and made available to those who wish to settle in the Lambeg area.
“We express our thanks to the local community for bringing these matters to the attention of ourselves and the department and acknowledge the work being carried out by the project worker who is targeting the issues in the area and reporting to the PSNI.
“We are hopeful that in the interim an additional security presence will be felt to deter anyone intent on causing vandalism to property or anti-social behaviour.”
Clanmil Housing Group was asked to comment on the situation, but hadn’t responded at the time of publication.