31/05/2011

Girdwood Development Opportunities Discussed

There has been high level discussion of a proposed north Belfast redevelopment with the NI Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland visiting the former Girdwood Army base site and the historic Crumlin Road Gaol.

He has met local residents in the nearby Lower Oldpark community as well to discuss the opportunities that may develop.

The DUP Minister's first stop was at Crumlin Road Gaol, which is currently under renovation, and the adjacent Girdwood site where he was shown the extent of the land available for development.

Minister McCausland said: "Girdwood and the Gaol provide a great development opportunity for the city of Belfast and especially for the people of north Belfast. These are substantial sites and they are close to the centre of Belfast. They provide an opportunity which we cannot afford to miss."

At Lower Oldpark the Minister heard concerns from local people about housing and saw for himself the blight caused by more than 40 boarded up empty homes, which is discouraging new residents from moving in.

Minister McCausland said: "It is important that my department works in partnership with the local Community Association to make a real difference in the area and I am proposing a strategic working group, with both government and local representation, to take forward a programme of regeneration.

"Together we will create a framework and vision for the future. We can also make an immediate start to providing more housing and a better environment in which to live. People living here can have confidence that things will now start to happen and that their perseverance has been justified.

"Lower Oldpark sits adjacent to the Gaol and Girdwood and the regeneration of Lower Oldpark is essential if we are to maximise the development potential of those other important sites."

(GK/BMcC)

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