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By Scott Jamison

Residents in a local street threatened by a proposed development by Queen’s University have hit out at the South Belfast institution, saying they don’t wish their community to be “filled” with students.

Last week we told how a number of residents of Sans Souci Park off the Malone Road were concerned by the university’s plans to demolish two detached homes in the street and replace them with three blocks of accommodation for postgraduate students.

This is in addition to a block currently being built behind the street as part of Queen’s’ Elms Village development, which is due to open this spring. Formal planning applications for the Sans Souci Park blocks have yet to be lodged.

Now Sheila Landy, who lives off the main street in Sans Souci Manor, has added her voice to those critical of the plans, saying it would lead to a change for the worse in the area.

“The block of flats I live in are restricted to over 55s and the idea behind that was to keep Sans Souci free of students because there are so many in other areas throughout South Belfast.

“This has now put a whole different aspect on things because this move will bring in a large number of students, which we don’t really want to happen here.

“It’s not that we’re against students, just them living here in large numbers. Quite frankly, students do not mix with families and older people which is what Sans Souci is made up of. We have already seen that evidence in the Holyland and the Lisburn Road.”

Sheila was joined by other Sans Souci residents on Saturday (January 28) who banded together to show their united opposition against the move by Queen’s which was revealed to them in a meeting between the university and locals at the start of January.

She said feelings were “hot and heavy” in the area over the proposed development.

“Everyone’s fear is this is the thin end of the wedge and just the beginning of Queen’s’ move into Sans Souci. If this is successful from their point of view then what is to stop them buying other properties here and doing the same thing?

“Unfortunately things are about money and it’s clear the university can see there is money to be made here. We feel in our hearts it will probably go through and Queen’s will get what Queen’s want.

“The big question is where will that leave Sans Souci Park? We fear this is just the beginning of the end for the street and we will eventually see student blocks everywhere.”

A spokesperson for Queen’s University said the university had taken onboard the views of the residents and was giving them “full consideration” before taking any further action.



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