LARNE Council will continue to apply “subtle pressure” to the NI Housing Executive in a bid to ensure a derelict block of flats at Craigyhill are demolished as soon as possible.
The eyesore buildings have fallen victim to vandalism and arson attacks in recent years, and local elected representatives have campaigned for the flats to be razed as a matter of urgency.
And Frank O’Connor, north east area manager for NIHE, has confirmed that the flats have been scheduled for demolition “at the earliest opportunity”.
In a letter addressed to the local authority on May 3, Mr O’Connor said: “All the properties are now vacant and secured.
“The Housing Executive is currently awaiting written confirmation that electrical disconnections have been completed and we have been advised by NI Electricity that this is imminent.”
Mr O’Connor added that arrangements to have gas pipes disconnected at the premises were also underway and it was expected that the process would be completed within the week commencing May 7.
Local councillors have previously expressed concerns for public safety at the vacant site, with Alliance representative Gerardine Mulvenna asking that the flats be removed “before someone is seriously hurt”.
To allay these fears, Mr O’Connor stated that the NIHE neighbourhood officer in Larne would carry out daily inspections of the site until the demolition work began in order to ensure that it is “as secure as possible”.
At the latest meeting of the environment committee at Smiley Buildings, Larne Borough Council chief executive Geraldine McGahey said: “We will continue to ask nicely and apply subtle pressure to the Housing Executive over this matter.”