Elected representatives have welcomed the decision to close security barriers at an area which has been plagued by anti-social behaviour.
The security barriers at the Farmley Car Park in Glengormley were closed on Friday evening (June 17) after a number of complaints were made with regard to anti-social behaviour at the site.
The car park had become synonymous with groups of teens and young people causing disturbances at the facility on an almost weekly basis.
The anti-social incidents included car drivers doing ‘donuts’, car engines being revved at unsociable hours, and loud music being played throughout the night and early hours of the morning.
A spokesperson for the council said: “In recent weeks, a number of complaints have been received from local residents regarding anti-social behaviour at Farmley Car Park. Through consultation with local businesses and elected members, it was agreed that barriers would be installed and the main entrance would be closed at 8pm and re-opened at 6.30am each day for a trial period, commencing on Friday, June 17. The trial closure will remain under review.”
Commenting on the issue, North Belfast DUP MLA Paula Bradley said: “Residents have reported cars revving their engines and playing loud music well into the early hours of the morning. This is totally unacceptable and has caused considerable distress and annoyance to those in nearby homes. Following representations made to the council, as well as local PSNI, I’m pleased that council has now agreed to close the barrier on a trial basis. I’ve also received an assurance from the PSNI that they will maintain a high presence in the area and are actively monitoring certain vehicles.”
The closure of the barriers has been welcomed by her party colleague, Cllr Stephen Ross. He said: “I am in favour of the security barriers being closed. There were people congregating in the car park on a regular basis. I would be in favour of closing all of the sites that the council owns if people are going to cause anti-social behaviour in them.”
Alliance Cllr John Blair said: “The lives of many residents in the area were a living hell, particularly elderly residents and those with young children who were suffering as a result of the disturbances, very late at night and into the early hours of the morning. I’m glad council has agreed to take steps to ensure that previously agreed measures are being put in place and residents can go back to enjoying some peace and quiet and quality of life.”
Deputy Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, Cllr Noreen McClelland has supported the decision to close the barriers. The SDLP representative said: “This issue has been ongoing for many years now. Residents need peace of mind. The steps council have taken, after consultation, are necessary to ensure those living in the area are not continually disturbed by this type of anti-social behaviour.”
Cllr Michael Goodman has also welcomed the decision to close the security barriers. The Sinn Fein representative said: “It is unfortunate that these steps have had to be taken, but it has become necessary due to the behaviour of a small minority. Our main concern is to ensure that people living in the area aren’t put out by people misusing the car park.”