Demolish vandalised Craigyhill flats now, councillors urge NIHE

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LARNE Borough Council is to press for demolition of the derelict block of flats at Craigyhill “as a matter of urgency”.

Alliance councillor Gerardine Mulvenna tabled a motion for discussion at Monday’s public services committee in which she appealed to the NI Housing Executive to take “responsible, positive action” to raze the eyesore buildings as soon as possible and “before someone is seriously hurt”.

Ald Jack McKee, who has been campaigning for demolition of the void, vandalised flats for some time, seconded the motion.

Cllr Mulvenna said Craigyhill residents had serious concerns about anti-social behaviour at the flats, which have been subject to frequent arson attacks in recent years.

“People there tell me they are living in constant fear because the flats are being deliberately set on fire on a regular basis,” said Cllr Mulvenna.

“Over the last six weeks there have been multiple call-outs, which is very dangerous and places immense strain on our local fire crews, who have to answer these late-night calls, and on the Belfast crew who bring a specialist tender with an extendible crane. This is a huge expense for the Fire and Rescue Service.”

The flats were already “a magnet for vandals” and the situation would “only get worse as it comes into the summer season,” said the Coast Road Alliance representative.

“This is an ongoing problem and the Housing Executive plan to demolish, but when?” asked Cllr Mulvenna.

The Housing Executive said on Tuesday that the flats have been secured. A spokesperson added: “Electrical disconnections are well advanced and arrangements are underway for the removal of gas pipe work at the flats. When these disconnections have been completed, the flats will be demolished as quickly as possible and the site cleared and landscaped.”

In the meantime, she said, NIHE’s neighbourhood officer will continue to carry out daily inspections of the site “to make sure it is as secure as possible”