Knocknagoney Avenue Shops and Maisonettes

Oral Answers to Questions — Communities – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:30 pm on 22 June 2021.

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Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton DUP 2:30, 22 June 2021

T2. Mr Newton asked the Minister for Communities, who will know that procrastination is the thief of time, when she will make a decision on the economic appraisal on the future of the Knocknagoney Avenue shops and maisonettes, which has been on her desk for months. (AQT 1462/17-22)

Photo of Deirdre Hargey Deirdre Hargey Sinn Féin

The economic appraisal has not been on my desk for months. Work was ongoing. There has been engagement with officials and with the Housing Executive. Once additional information is in front of me, a decision will be taken without further delay.

Photo of Robin Newton Robin Newton DUP

I thank the Minister for her answer. However, that is not what has been stated in written answers to me. This matter has gone on for at least 10 years. Over that time, minimal response maintenance has taken place on those homes. What does the Minister intend to do about compensation, legal fees, alternative accommodation and getting the folk who are living in dreadful conditions into more suitable accommodation?

Photo of Deirdre Hargey Deirdre Hargey Sinn Féin

All that will be considered as part of the business case process and the Housing Executive's engagement on its submission to the Department. I take the issues seriously, and there have been engagements on them. I know that the Member was on the radio a few weeks ago talking about other flats across east Belfast, and Grainia Long was on 'Good Morning Ulster' that morning. Those issues are important. I met Andy Allen recently to talk about similar issues and residents having to leave their homes. It feeds back into the other housing issue about existing stock that is not fit for purpose and, in some circumstances, is falling down. We need to change that. In some cases, that means knocking houses down and replenishing the stock. When I am fully apprised of the business case, and when my supplementary questions are answered and the information comes back to me, I will consider all that. I will not give an answer until then, because it would be disingenuous of me to do so. Once that is done, I will come back to the Member and will communicate with Members who have written to me on the issue.