Belfast Telegraph

Anti-litter campaign helps breathe new life into Belfast site

By Linda Stewart

The man pulled up in his truck, clearly intent on flytipping the load of rusty metal and other waste material at the site where we were working.

Once he spotted the JCB digging all the rubbish from the empty site at Tiger’s Bay in north Belfast he took off again.

But the worst thing was that he was accompanied by his young son — passing on his anti-social habits to the next generation.

Just before Christmas the Housing Executive moved in to remove a lorryload of flytipped filth from the Crosscollyer Street site, one of the litter eyesores highlighted in the Belfast Telegraph at the outset of our Big Clean-Up campaign.

This campaign, run in partnership with Tidy Northern Ireland and backed by Environment Minister Edwin Poots, aims to tackle the litter hotspots blighting our towns and countryside, cleaning them up with the help of volunteers and spurring people into taking action.

One of the first hotspots we located was at Crosscollyer Street on Housing Executive-owned land that has been used as an unofficial rubbish dump for months.

There was building waste such as plastic piping, road barriers, panes of broken glass, huge bags of soil, along with domestic rubbish such as rusty mattresses, seat cushions, plastic sheeting, polystyrene and headboards.

When we contacted the Housing Executive, it revealed that the fenced site had been part of the Mountcollyer Urban Renewal Area, which included around 400 unfit properties, and was vested on June 23, 2003.

New social housing has now been built in the area by Clanmil Housing Association with support from the Housing Executive, and the remaining area, including the site at Crosscollyer Street, has been sold by development brief — it now awaits planning approval for a new development.

The site had been secured but intruders have repeatedly broken the locks, opening the site up to flytipping. The Housing Executive has now sent in a contractor to clear all the waste material with the help of a JCB.

An Executive spokeswoman said: “The successful developer has applied for planning approval to build new, private homes which will complement the social housing already provided in the area. The Housing Executive will formally transfer the site once planning approval has been granted.

“The site at Crosscollyer Street is part of the Mountcollyer Urban Renewal Area and had been secured. However, the Housing Executive has had to change the locks on four separate occasions as a result of vandalism.”

Neighbour Tom Cheddy (88) said he put a lock on the gate himself but that was broken as well. Welcoming the Executive’s clean-up, he said: “It’s a good idea. They’ve put a lock and bolts on that gate and people move in there and do what they like.”

If you know of a litter hotspot or you’re planning to carry out a clean-up, please let us know by emailing bigcleanup@belfasttelegraph.co.uk .

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