Asbestos clearance raises housing hopes

By Kieran Hughes

There are hopes that an unused piece of land in Bawnmore will be used for much-needed social housing in the area after hazardous materials were cleared from the site this week.

Since November last year local residents and politicians have been calling for the clearance of asbestos piping and other materials from the former fish factory at Dandy Street.

After negotiations between Bawnmore Residents Association, local politicians, the Department of the Environment and Newtownabbey Borough Council, the hazardous material have now been cleared.

Planning permission for 38 houses on the site has already been approved and Seamus Kelly, from the Association, said now was the chance to move that forward.

“It has taken a long time to clear the site but it is better late than never,” he said.

“Now we can focus on social housing. We are heading in the right direction but we can’t just build homes and have nothing with them. We need more facilities here and that is something we will be campaigning for.”

Newtownabbey Sinn Féin Councillor Gerry O’Reilly said more homes would be a welcome boost to the area.

“We see this as overall progress in regards to the site, we hope that the planning permission which was granted in August of this year will now see the building of the homes which had been requested, the development would see a further 38 three bedroom homes being built in the area.

“This would impact very positively as we strive to address the needs of the people on the current housing list.”

Gerry Reilly said local people shouldn’t be discouraged from applying to the Housing Executive for homes in the area. “I want to thank the community workers and residents who have worked with us over the past number of months in our efforts to clear the site of the dangerous materials which have been illegally dumped there,” he added.

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