Soudan Street ‘like Somalia’: Councillor
A handful of residents still living in a ‘condemned’ street in south Belfast have for the last two months been living in a rubble strewn mess as no one has come to clean up the rubble left by a construction company working on behalf of Northern Ireland Electricity (NIE) and the Housing Executive.
Residents of Soudan Street, off Broadway in the south of the city, have had to deal with the rubble of bricked walls littering pavements and flytippers coming and dumping litter in the vacant properties adjacent to their homes.
The construction company was brought in by Northern Ireland Electricity to demolish garden walls in the street so that electricity and gas supplies could be cut in the vacant houses.
One resident, Ann Crowe told the Community Telegraph that the destruction of the walls took place on October 14/15 and the rubble has been left there ever since.
She had been on holiday when they started the work, but her neighbour spoke to the workmen who told her they had to cut the supply to vacant houses.
“They said they wouldn’t touch the walls of houses adjacent to ones people lived in,” said Anne.
“But on the Sunday they came and demolished the walls right beside our houses.”
“There are half a dozen families still living in this street and the houses aren’t to come down for another two years or maybe more,” she continued.
“I want to know if this place is just going to be left like this until the houses come down. It has been two months and no one has come to clean this up.
“There is flytipping going on as well, people obviously look at this place and think, well it’s a dump already so let’s just put our rubbish there too.
“This is an accident waiting to happen — we want them to clean up the mess, take the rubble away and fill in the holes that are left because our street shouldn’t be left like this.”
Another resident, Patricia, said her young daughter could not go into the street to play because of the mess and that she had already fallen over the rubble on a number of occasions but had not injured her self seriously.
She said: “We’ve started walking in the middle of the road because of the mess, it’s the safest place to walk.”
Sinn Fein councillor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: "Parts of Soudan Street look like Mogadishu in Black Hawk Down and it's intolerable that any householder should have to put up with these type of conditions.
“Great work is being done by Belfast City Council and the Greater Village Regeneration Trust to manage the difficult regeneration process but their efforts are being hampered by criminals who are plundering blocked-up homes for scrap metal and brick.
“For the sake of residents living in condemned streets who find themselves beside vandalised homes — like Ms Crowe — we need to step up our support for the Greater Village Regeneration Trust."
Valerie Curran, NIE Customer Relations Manager for the area, said:“Under instruction from the Housing Executive, NIE, the electricity network company, is removing the electricity supply from 580 individual houses in the Village area of Belfast.
“Removing the electricity supply in Soudan Street involved accessing an underground electricity cable by excavating part of the pavement and also the service cable in the garden area.
“Due to the position of the cable, some garden walls of derelict properties also had to be removed. In each of these cases we ensured that the pavement was left clear,” she added.