The Housing Executive has confirmed it is to demolish one of Rathcoole’s landmark tower blocks.
In a proposal that has angered community representatives, Monkscoole House is to be tumbled within the next year.
A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) said: “The Department for Communities approved the Housing Executive’s business case recommending the demolition of Monkscoole House on January 10.
“It is likely that it will take at least a year before the block is demolished. This is due to the requirement to both appoint a consultant to prepare a demolition scheme and procure a contractor to undertake the work.”
One of the neighbouring units in the Newtownabbey estate is also earmarked for removal.
The spokesperson added: “In the Housing Executive’s Tower Blocks Action Plan it is proposed to also demolish the adjacent Abbotscoole House. As with the decision on Monkscoole House, this will require departmental approval of a business case.
“We currently propose to retain Carncoole House and Glencoole House for a period of at least ten years, and undertake associated improvement works.
“There are no residents in Monkscoole House, it was closed late last year. Residents were consulted on proposals for the tower blocks in 2018. We have not received any complaints regarding the demolition of Monkscoole House.”
Cllr Robert Foster has voiced concerns about the planned demolition.
The Macedon UUP representative told this paper: “I am firmly of the opinion that the views of the residents of the four multi-storey blocks have been ignored. These residents feel safe and secure in their homes and the prospect of them losing their home is causing great distress.
“Monkscoole House has lain virtually empty for over five years, which I am disgusted at given the level of people who are homeless or in housing stress. Other blocks have been refurbished and to plan to demolish these against the vast majority of residents wishes is shameful.
“I believe that the consultation by NIHE was merely a box-ticking exercise ignoring the overwhelming opinion of the residents who wish to see the flats remain. These multis are an iconic symbol of Rathcoole and I am adamant that all avenues should be explored to see their retention.”
Echoing these sentiments, DUP Cllr Dean McCullough said: “I am opposed to this move and have asked for a full brief. There are a number of other options that could and should have been explored.”