Alliance representatives in East Belfast have welcomed a promise by the DSD Minister to relocate the electrical switch rooms at both Willowbrook and Woodstock House in Cregagh which were severely affected by flooding in both 2007 and 2008. Cllr. Michael Long has called for the move and additional work aimed at reducing the likelihood of further flooding in the flats to be brought forward from April 2010 as the works were originally programmed for June 2009.
East Belfast Alliance MLA Naomi Long said, “I am pleased that Margaret Ritchie has reported in a letter to me that a recent proposal to leave the switch gear in the basement has been reversed and that the plant will now be moved in the next phase of ongoing works at the flats as had previously been promised.
“In 2007 the plant was flooded and power in the flats was lost overnight whilst during last year’s flooding the supply was only inches from being affected. We have argued that urgent action on this problem is required so that those living in flats can be more confident that the power supply will not go off again. As in so many areas affected by flooding, people want to see real improvements in infrastructure rather than empty promises and the repeated need to claim compensation.
Cllr. Michael Long added, “Whilst we are pleased with this u-turn we are very unhappy that the next phase of the improvement schemes has been put back from the original date of June 2009. It seems ridiculous that this basic measure which could reduce the impact of future flooding has not been implemented after 2 years and that it is unlikely to take place until well into 2010.
“I would encourage the Department to ensure that this and associated work on improving drainage to local sewers takes place as soon as possible. It is vital that there should not be any further slippage in the timetable for these flooding related and other repairs which have been put back due to shortfalls in the Housing Budget.”