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Let's raise a cheer for our quirky little shop

It was a joy to read about Sina's shop and the positive effect it is having on north Belfast (Life, December 23). It sounds a lovely place and one I wouldn't mind visiting myself.

It is just the sort of individualistic, quirky establishment that people love - especially those who live alone and feel isolated.

So, I asked myself: why is the Planning Office so hell-bent on trying to close it down? Then it dawned on me: these are the same individuals who have unhesitatingly given the nod to the numerous building 'developments' that we have springing up all over Northern Ireland.

These architectural disasters are then given the spin-doctor treatment by silver-tongued estate agents who do their utmost to 'talk them up' in accordance with their skyscraper prices. Planners hate anything individualistic and quirky, anything with soul. They want everything to look the same - bland and boring.

They give the nod to any development - at least most do - certainly in the area where I live. Resorts like Portballintrae, Castlerock and Portrush attest to this.

However, it's more about looks where Sina's shop is concerned. It's providing a vital service. It's run by a man of vision - and there are too few of those around these days - who deserves an award, not punishment, for what he's doing.

Where are the MLAs in this? They should support him for his valuable community service and help him keep his shop open.

He's done more for community relations than the lot of them put together.

FIONA NORRIS

Coleraine, Co Londonderry

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