THE DUP in North Belfast have called on supporters to voice their opposition to plans for social housing on the Hillview Retail Park site.
Plans have been submitted for 18 homes on the site, which has lain dormant for over a decade, with previous anchor tenant Dunnes Stores leaving in 2007.
With a consultation period now under way, DUP representatives have reiterated their opposition to the application and are “strongly encouraging” their supporters to do the same.
In a statement, the DUP provide contact details and information about how people should submit their opposition to the plans.
The statement was signed by William Humphrey MLA, Lord Mayor Alderman Frank McCoubrey, Alderman Brian Kingston and Councillors Nicola Verner, Dale Pankhurst, Fred Cobain and Dean McCullough.
The statement from North Belfast DUP representatives reads: “When Hillview Retail Park applied to Planning Service last September to revamp their retail units it was also reported that they were seeking to build around 18 houses on site.
“North Belfast DUP representatives made clear our total opposition to that housing proposal, though details were not available at that stage.
“The plans for 18 social housing units on site have now been added to the Planning Service website. The consultation period commenced last week and closes today, Wednesday 3rd February. We will be strongly objecting to this application and would encourage others to also make their views known.
“This interface site, between Shankill, Woodvale, Ardoyne and Lower Oldpark, has a long history of shared industrial and commercial use. The DUP has always supported a retail park on site, providing employment and large stores for the benefit of all.
“We cannot support social housing at this location which would create a new interface and would, in all likelihood, damage community relations.
“This unique site should be retained as a shared space for the benefit of all surrounding communities and beyond. It should not become a source of tension and division.”
Sinn Féin believes the DUP opposition relates to local voting patterns and this week they said the DUP’s opposition to social housing at Hillview “will not go unchallenged”.
Local Sinn Féin MLA Caral Ní Chuilín said: “Unfortunately the DUP’s total opposition to social housing is nothing new, either at the Hillview site nor countless other sites across North Belfast.
“I find the DUP statement offensive and provocative as I’m sure the many people waiting for a home in Belfast do also.
We are currently preparing an Issues Paper on a range of topics such as housing, employment and environment which we will be seeking your views on in the first half of 2021.
This is being put together taking into account a broad range of specially commissioned evidence as well as that which was already publicly available. We will consult you to find out if we are covering the right things and if we have missed any key issues. We intend to ask for views on this in the first half of 2021. Comments received will inform the next stage of Plan making.
South Essex has been struggling to prepare its joint strategic plan for over three years and nothing has come out for public discussion. It has published some evidence base documents (some of which took over two years).
Issues papers are pointless, they are non statutory. They should be called duck the issues papers because they duck the key issue – realistic options for where development should go – which is a statutory requirements. They allways delay plan making by around two years as they are worthless woolly documents if you duck the issue of location (as West of England found). The only function they have is giving the illusion of progress to politicians who desperately wish to avoid real engagement and contriversy on potential controversial locations and who often think sites and issues can be avoided if you dont even consult on them.
We already know from the evidence base that major Green Belt loss is necessary – as South Essex is almost wall to wall Green Belt south of Shenfield. We already know from the Stantec Study where the main potential locations are – West Horndon, North East of SOuthend and several sites of existing and new stations. The issue is how much where. That an issues paper wont tell you as the populist answers to sptially blind questions 0 Brownfield ior Greenfield in teh abstract wont tell you where to release and where to build.
Clearly there are more general issues, such as restructuring the economy, impact of lower Thames crossing etc. but why not do these alongside a meaningful consultation of what, where and when.
One the most-eye-catching submissions, and one that echoes the much-derided, rhetorical catch-all for a potential post-Brexit Britain of “Singapore-upon-Thames”, is a joint venture between the container hub of London Gateway, owned by Dubai Ports World, and Tilbury, the commodities port owned by the Forth Ports group seven miles upstream. In an innovative partnership, it is teaming with Ford Dagenham, once one of Britain’s most important motor factories, as a satellite extension of the freeport a further dozen or so miles inland.
The Thames Freeport bid says that 25,000 jobs are the prize, along with the regeneration of 1,700 acres — seven million sq m, or the size of 2,500 football pitches — for commercial use in the development of renewable energy, construction materials processing and fabrication, industrial manufacturing, distribution and logistics, as well as the next generation of automotive technologies.
Ford, the giant American carmaker, is on board as it eyes the opportunity to transform its British interests. It hasn’t built a car at the old home of the Ford Escort for nearly 20 years and Dagenham has become its manufacturing centre for diesel engines for its overseas-built Transit vans, a technology increasingly time-limited as Britain leads Europe toward the elimination of the internal combustion engine.
“As part of Thames Freeport, we expect to develop Dagenham as a technology spoke for electrified, zero-emission and autonomous technologies,” Graham Hoare, chairman of Ford of Britain, said.
The south Essex borough of Thurrock, in which London Gateway and Tilbury are located, is in the top 10 per cent of Britain’s communities struggling with deprivation, suffering high rates of unqualified adults and unemployment. Barking and Dagenham is the most deprived London borough and the fifth most deprived local authority in the country, with high rates of benefits claimants and low rates of economic activity.
“This is an area of significant deprivation and [workforce] skills are much lower than the national average,” Schulze said. “Thames Freeport is a chance to level up the area.”