Elderly residents living in the Northbrook Street area of the Lisburn Road have called on the Department for Regional Development (DRD) to take responsibility for an alleyway that they feel is a “health and safety hazard”.
The residents were speaking during a visit to the area this week by Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie.
The visit, attended by political representatives for south Belfast, took place to allow residents the chance to raise concerns with the Minister about regeneration and anti-social behaviour.
Residents say the disputed alleyway has been left to fall into a state of neglect as it is unclaimed by any public body.
“It is covered in 4ft-high weeds, is over-run with rats and is a dumping ground for rubbish,” explained local resident John Copeland.
“Adoption of this alleyway would make a huge difference to this area,” said South Belfast MLA Carmel Hanna.
“The DRD have argued against this and are worried that if they adopt the alleyway it will set a precedent for other areas, but I don’t think this is the case.”
“The money is there from Bryson House to pay for clearing the weeds and Tarmacking the alleyway,” said fellow MLA for the area, Anna Lo.
“The weeds can grow to upwards of 4ft tall and, along with the mud and the grass, can make it quite hazardous for local residents to leave out their bins.”
Speaking to The CT, Minister Ritchie said: “I will be raising the issue of adopting this stretch of land with the Minister for Regional Development.”
Speaking about the alleyway, a spokeswoman for the DRD confirmed that they had “received requests from elected representatives in the recent past regarding the adoption of the alleyway”.
“In considering such requests in the past, Roads Service has concluded that the inclusion of the alleyway into the public road network is not in the greater public interest, as its main purpose is to provide private rear access to the adjacent residential properties only,” said the spokeswoman.
- Check out next week’s The CT for more on Minister Ritchie’s visit to the Lisburn Road.