Belfast Telegraph

Dodds and NEELB work to address community eyesore

by Chris McCann

Fed-up residents in north Belfast could soon be getting rid of a community eyesore.

North Belfast DUP MP Nigel Dodds is pressing the North Eastern Education and Library Board to resolve the issue of overgrown land in Rathfern, Newtownabbey, which has been left uncut for many years.

Mr Dodds held an onsite meeting at Knockenagh Walk with NEELB managers George Wylie and Tom Lyle last week.

Mr Dodds highlighted the plight of local residents exasperated by illegal dumping on the NEELB land which has not been cut for the past five years.

Mr Dodds said: “I have been seeking a resolution to this matter on behalf of residents exasperated that this land has been left uncut for years and has become a site for illegal dumping,” he said.

“Indeed when NEELB recently attempted to cut the vegetation, that exercise had to be abandoned due to the amount of dumped items which would damage their machinery.

“At our onsite meeting, the NEELB representatives agreed that the Board would proceed by bringing in heavy plant machinery to scrape the land to remove all dumping and overgrown vegetation. They will then commence a programme of maintaining the land on a regular basis.

“I will convene a meeting with representatives of other statutory agencies, in particular the Housing Executive and Newtownabbey Borough Council, to seek their assistance with this exercise. I trust that once the land is cleared there will be an end to the sort of illegal and inconsiderate dumping which has plagued residents living adjacent to the site.

“I am also committed to working with the NEELB and other agencies towards a longer term solution for this land. If NEELB find that it is surplus to their requirements then it would be better to find a viable use for this large site. I will continue to support those discussions, in association with the local community, towards a solution.”

NEELB’s George Wylie said: “If illegal dumping did not take place this problem would not arise. It seems fairly obvious that this dumping is being carried out by those living in the area. Local political representatives should be more proactive in persuading their constituents in this area to stop dumping their rubbish on Board property.”

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