The Housing Executive has revealed it has received 116 objections to the £100 million regeneration plans for the Village area of south Belfast.
And it said around two-thirds of those objections would like to see the redevelopment area expanded.
The Village was declared an ‘Urban Renewal Area’ (URA) in May 2008, triggering £100m of regeneration money which will see 580 homes (comprising of a 40 percent block area of the URA) knocked down and replaced with around 270 new-build homes. The remaining 60 percent of the URA (730 houses) are to be “significantly improved”.
Last week the Department for Social Development confirmed a public inquiry is to take place to address concerns about the plans.
The announcement came after a long-running campaign by a group representing homeowners in the area — the Blackstaff Residents’ Association — who feel that they were not properly consulted about the plans.
The Blackstaff Residents’ Association is concerned that “perfectly good houses” within the URA development zone are being “blocked-up” as part of the regeneration plans, while other houses will be vested and knocked down, forcing many elderly residents into temporary accommodation.
But Paula Bradshaw, director of the Greater Village Regeneration Trust, said: “It isn't just one group in the Village that is calling for a public inquiry. A number of people have raised concerns with the Housing Executive — some because they didn't think the regeneration plan went far enough.”
Billy Dickson from the Blackstaff Residents' Association said: “It would be interesting to see how many of those objections came from the streets that are affected (by the regeneration plans).
“I believe the majority of people living on these streets don't want full redevelopment.
“But regardless of the objection letters for or against redevelopment, the fact is that at a public inquiry the case for full redevelopment will be put across and the case for other alternatives will be put across.”
A NIHE spokeswoman said: “The Housing Executive can confirm that 116 objections have been received in relation to the notice of application to vest (homes) in the village area.
“Approximately two-thirds of these would like to see the redevelopment area expanded whilst the other third do not want redevelopment.
“The majority of objections have been received from people living in the proposed redevelopment area or proposed improvement area. The remaining objections have been received from people living within the wider Village area.”