Craigyhill flats saga ‘deeply frustrating’

Roy Beggs MLA and Cllr Maureen Morrow outside the eyesore flats at Shanlea Drive, Larne. INLT 31-607-CON
Roy Beggs MLA and Cllr Maureen Morrow outside the eyesore flats at Shanlea Drive, Larne. INLT 31-607-CON

URGENT calls have been made once again for the vacant flats at Craigyhill in Larne to be torn down.

Back in May, North East area manager for the NI Housing Executive, Frank O’Connor, confirmed to Larne Council that the eyesore flats would be demolished at the earliest opportunity,

But East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs has expressed his frustration at the length of time it is taking to remove the heavily vandalised buildings.

He said: “It is deeply frustrating for residents who live near the green at Craigyhill that the demolition of the flats at Dromaine Drive and Cairngorm Drive is taking so long to achieve.

“Myself and local councillor Maureen Morrow met with NI Housing Executive management a year ago, and at that point we were told that the wheels were in motion, with just legal formalities from the Board of the Housing Executive, and the approval of the Minister for Social Development required.

“Subsequently in a reply to a question I placed at the Assembly, the DSD Minister confirmed that 58 flats would be demolished in total; 34 flats at Cairngorm Road, eight flats in Linn Road and 16 flats in Shanlea Drive. However, that was last November.

“It has been said to me that the area around the empty flats – which have been subject to repeated incidents of trespass and arson – resembles Beirut in the 1980s.

“It is hard to argue with that damning verdict.”

The Ulster Unionist representative is now pushing for a firm date for demolition work to commence, now that gas and electricity supplies to the flats have been cut off.

“This needs to happen as a matter of urgency, so that the blight is removed, the wider area can be regenerated, the environment improved, and anti-social behaviour curbed,” Mr Beggs concluded.