Curzon apartments deal proves a flat out success

By Paul Ainsworth

A LOCAL residents group has offered its congratulations after a  social housing development that once had them up in arms, scooped a major construction award.

Members of the Ulidea Residents Association who were previously opposed to the ‘Curzon’ development on the Ormeau Road, have since praised the project for its integration into the busy South Belfast community.

Initially, following the purchase of the flats by Clanmil Housing Association, there were fears over the sheer size of the social housing block on the site of a former cinema, and who might get the apartments ahead of locals. Currently 42 apartments at the site are owned by Clanmil, who purchased them in 2009, and it is understood the association is in the process of buying the remaining 19.

This week, the development picked up an award from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, in the ‘Community Benefit’ category, and were praised by one of their former critics.

Marie Guinness, chair of the Ulidea Residents Group told this paper: “At first, we thought it would be the equivalent of another street’s worth of people being squeezed into the area, and of course, we naturally had our reservations.

“Yet it really has become an integral part of the community here. We were originally accused by some of being against social housing in our neighbourhood, but we had just wanted to make sure the apartments would be available for local people who needed them. We congratulate Clanmil for receiving this award.”

Monday’s award ceremony at Queen’s University saw a representative of Clanmil explain how talking to residents helped iron out issues of concern.

Chief Executive Clare McCarty said: “We are very grateful to them (the residents), for the way in which they welcomed our tenants to the community and for their continued support in promoting a good neighbourhood at the scheme.”

 

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