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Yobs turning beauty spot into rubbish-strewn drinking den

By Cate McCurry

The director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects has hit out at litter louts who "ruined" a Belfast beauty spot after dozens of empty beer bottles and cans were scattered across woodland.

Lagan Lands East - a former Belfast City Council rubbish dump - was transformed into a hidden gem in south Belfast following years of neglect.

Despite its revamp, litter louts have been using parts of the area, situated between Annadale and Belvoir Park Forest, as a drinking den.

Belfast City Council said it will address the problem "as soon as possible".

A City Hall spokesman said: "This area of land is surveyed and cleaned by council staff on a regular basis.

"We are now arranging to get it tidied as soon as possible, and we will now be monitoring the site more closely."

The beauty spot has been described as a piece of "magical lush countryside" and a "nature lover's delight" on a travel review website.

Ciaran Fox, director of the Royal Society of Ulster Architects, was out walking with his sons when he came across the rubbish.

"It was awful, there is an open piece of land which is scattered with beer tins and cider bottles," he said.

"There's an area which is surrounded in trees and it's clearly a place where people go drinking, it's completely covered in rubbish.

"Although we live nearby, it's a bit of an unknown area. It's unusual in that it's a wilderness spot which it close to the city.

"You can amble over the ground and go down to the Lagan. It's probably popular for people going drinking, as it is secluded.

"My view is that the rubbish has been building up for a while.

"Myself and the two boys were in it to explore and see what it was.

"But we found loads of rubbish, though it didn't spoil the day or the adventure. It's a real shame seeing a beautiful, wild spot being ruined with so much rubbish.

"It's disappointing these people can't take the rubbish with them."

He also highlighted the dangers posed to children and to wildlife.

"It doesn't look good to any visitors to the area either," he added.

"It's meant to be like a little break away from the city.

"There are teams of volunteers who go out and do litter pick-ups to keep the place looking tidy and clean, which is great to see, but more needs to be done."

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