By Evan Short

The Housing Executive has denied ending their interest in building houses on the old Glengormley RUC barracks site after a local DUP politician said he had a letter stating they are “suspending” interest in the site.

The disused barracks on the Antrim Road had been earmarked in the Glengormley Master Plan for social housing which Sinn Féin said should to go ease the North Belfast housing waiting list.

But a late declaration of interest from Newtownabbey Council for the site to be included in an ambitious regeneration plan for Glengormley was recently received, which the DUP has said is a preferable option to social housing.

Cllr Phillip Brett said they were always opposed to the homes.

“We have received confirmation that the Housing Executive have suspended their interest. We have said from the start it wouldn’t be a site, and we are glad they have finally changed their minds.”

He said a Freedom of Information request by the party had shown that “97 per cent” of the housing need in Glengormley was Protestant, and that the barracks site would not address this as only “14/15” houses would be built should the Housing Executive take it on.

“We carried out a consultation and the results of that said people wouldn’t move to that site,” Cllr Brett added.

However when contacted by the North Belfast News a Housing Executive spokeswoman said they remained interested in building on the location.

“The Housing Executive has not withdrawn its interest in the PSNI site in Glengormley.

“Further to the Joint Newtownabbey Borough/ DSD Masterplan (2011) and following the PSNI site public sector trawl, the Housing Executive has been advised that Newtownabbey Borough Council is reconsidering its position in relation to the regeneration of the wider Glenwell Road area.

“We understand that the Council is developing a new concept plan, which will include the PSNI site and we look forward to working with the Council in the development of proposals.

“When the concept plan is complete, the Housing Executive will reassess its position with regard to the PSNI site. In the interim, the Housing Executive will continue to work with the Housing Associations to identify opportunities to meet housing need across Glengormley.”

North Belfast Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly, who has been a supporter of social housing being built on the site, questioned the DUP’s comments.

“The DUP need to explain themselves and this intervention to the public as frankly it looks like they now have egg on their faces.

“Social housing should be allocated on the basis of need not creed and the DUP need to stop sectarianising every site that is identified for social housing across North Belfast just in case a Catholic is allocated a home.”

 

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