Petition calls for halt on social housing plan

A PETITION with over 1,200 names has been presented to the Department of Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland, from the Harmony Hill, Lambeg area calling on Clanmil to stop plans for social housing in the area.

The handover of the petition took place at a meeting with Clanmil, which was arranged by local MLA Jonathan Craig and MP Jeffrey Donaldson.

It was also attended by the Ministry of Defence and representatives from Lambeg and District Ratepayers Association and the Lambeg Community Association, together with local residents who have been very active in the campaign.

Mr Craig said: “It was obvious that following the public meeting and the handover of the signed petitions of 1,200 residents, these ludicrous plans by Clanmil had to be relooked at and amended so that a sensible way forward is found that has the support of elected representatives and the whole community.”

Mr Craig said that Clanmil were left in no doubt at the meeting of the massive concern that the local community have with regard to these plans and were urged at this late stage to reconsider and bring back proposals that will include these houses being made available to first-time buyers that will encourage young families to get on the property ladder at a reduced price and to add to the vibrancy of the Harmony Hill area.

Mr Donaldson said: “This is a very impressive response to the community petition and the residents of Harmony Hill and Lambeg continue to have my full support. There are two acute housing needs in Lisburn, affordable homes for first time buyers and new social housing. I remain of the view that any surplus MOD Housing in this particular area should be used by Housing Associations to provide affordable homes under the Northern Ireland Co-ownership Scheme. The proposed social housing scheme for the Hilden Mill site will do much to meet the social housing need in this part of Lisburn.”

A spokesman from Lambeg and District Ratepayers Association said: “I would like to thank Jonathan Craig MLA and Jeffrey Donaldson MP for the work and effort that they have put into this issue and for arranging the meeting with Clanmil. At the meeting, Clanmil once again said that they were looking at all options concerning the army houses and I believe that Clanmil are in no doubt following the public meeting and the 1,200 signed petitions and the recently held meeting that there is one clear proposal which will command full support and one that the community will buy into that these houses should be available to first time buyers/co-ownership scheme to young families in our City.”

The spokesman also said that he would like to thank the entire community for signing the petitions, attending the public meeting and for their support throughout the campaign and he hoped that their concerns and more importantly, the positive plans given by the Committee to Clanmil are taken up.