Castlereagh Alliance Chair and Alliance Youth Affairs Spokesperson, Michael Long, has expressed deep concern at the decision to seek planning permission to build 76 new dwellings on the site of the Quarry Inn in Dundonald.
He said, “Having conducted a recent survey of residents in the Old Mill development, the anger at the news that there may be more houses built when local infrastructure and amenities are lacking, was clear. Now it would seem that one of the few existing amenities, the Quarry Inn, is to be sacrificed for more housing, with no thought given to the social implications.”
“Residents are already extremely concerned about the lack of infrastructure, and in particular the traffic problems at the junction with the Upper N’Ards Road. They overwhelmingly supported a petition aimed at asking the DOE to improve access to the development from the Upper Newtownards Road, by providing traffic lights.”
“However, they are also annoyed at the lack of safe play areas for children in the development, an issue that is raised repeatedly in surveys carried out in new developments throughout Castlereagh. Although I believe that it is primarily the responsibility of the
Council to provide these facilities, something which the DUP-run Council has failed to do, I think that developers are being allowed to shirk their responsibilities. They are making huge profits from developing areas like Castlereagh, but are doing little to provide the amenities which should be part of an integrated, well-structured development and which help to create a strong community spirit.”
“In future, those who apply for permission for large housing developments should be required to set aside some land and provide funding, in partnership with the Council, for play facilities. Considering that the majority of these developments are aimed at families with young children, this would be an additional selling-point for the houses, whilst the money saved by the Council could be ploughed into the existing estates like Ballybeen and Clonduff, where the current level of play provision is abysmal.”