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Shop units to become flats

By Ciara Quinn

A number of units earmarked for commercial businesses at the front of Glen Road’s Caffrey Hill estate are to be turned into apartments.

Planning permission has already been lodged by Clanmil Housing Association to develop a further nine apartments bringing their total, along with 165 homes, from  46 to 55 on the former Bass Brewery site.

When the development was completed 10,000 square feet was initially set aside for retail units and 2,000 square feet for offices. Since Caffrey Hill officially opened last May no commercial businesses have set up at the entrance to the housing estate.

Speaking to the Andersonstown News, SDLP Councillor Tim Attwood said that Planning Service would need to look at the conditions that are placed on future mixed use developments, such as Fold Housing Association’s plans for the former Visteon site, to protect the retail and employment opportunities.

“The development of Caffrey Hill was highlighted as a mixed use regeneration scheme by Clanmil Housing Association,” he said. “It is providing excellent homes to hundreds of people on the Glen Road, however there are some concerns about the proposal to change the retail units from commercial to apartments now.

“The aim of this development was to create a new neighbourhood in West Belfast, with mixed-use development, including office and retail accommodation and, importantly, employment opportunities. The change in use from retail to apartments will undermine this ambition.”

A spokesperson for Clanmil Housing Association said: “Clanmil is progressing plans for the conversion of the commercial space at our Caffrey Hill development to provide nine apartments along with up to five smaller commercial units. We have consulted with our tenants and local elected representatives who support our proposals. We have applied for planning consent for the apartments and hope to commence work on receipt of this.The commercial units will be marketed for uses that are appropriate to our scheme and the local area. McCallin Carr has been appointed as letting agent for these units.”

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