Will Girdwood be used as a model for OFMDFM shared future plans – Cochrane

Alliance Social Development spokesperson Judith Cochrane MLA has queried whether the North Belfast Girdwood housing development proposal will be used as a model in OFMDFM’s shared future plans. The Girdwood plans havebeen widely criticised for having two separate housing areas for those from different backgrounds with a shared community hub in the middle. OFMDFM announced that 10 shared neighbourhood projects would be part of their shared future plans.

Judith Cochrane MLA said: “The Girdwood proposal was rightly criticised last year. The DUP and Sinn Fein attempted to claim that this was a shared housing project, when it was anything but shared. This was an example of their preference for a shared out future rather than a genuine shared future. It is hard for those who believe in a shared future to take their proposals seriously when this is all that they have offered so far.

“There are so few details and information about any of the OFMDFM proposals and if the Girdwood approach is the level of their aspirations, I fear that this will not actually deliver mixed housing and shared communities. Instead we must work to ensure that decisions about where to live are made solely on the nature and location of provision, rather than on fears about the personal consequences of political, religious or racial identity.

“By having only ten neighbourhood projects, these proposals will only affect a small number of people, in contrast the Alliance Party’s ‘For Everyone’ strategy proposed setting and delivering an inter-Departmental programme by 2025 to eliminate all evidence of threat, intimidation and territorial monopoly by any group, so that mixed housing is considered normal throughout the region at all levels of income.

“It is clear that OFMDFM have no real ambition for a truly united community.”


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