The Housing Executive has appointed a contractor to carry out the demolition of a derelict block of flats in the Rathcoole estate.
The eyesore property at Old Irish Highway, which has been lying vacant for several years, is to be levelled to make way for a new social housing development.
A spokesperson for the NI Housing Executive, which took ownership of the property last autumn, confirmed that the demolition contract is due to commence next month and is expected to last six weeks.
North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds has welcomed the appointment of the contractor, and the prospect of 17 new homes being constructed at the site by Helm Housing.
“After many months of frustration and delay, I am absolutely delighted for local residents that the final piece in the jigsaw of having this blight removed is now in place. This journey has been long in the making, working with local residents and party colleagues to have the site brought back into public ownership,” the DUP man commented.
“I look forward to the work beginning on February 1 and the development of 17 new family homes on the site.”
North Belfast MLA Paula Bradley added: “By bringing this site back into public ownership, we have ensured further social housing in an area of high demand.
“I look forward to working with the Housing Executive to ensure the new homes are in place by 2017.”
North Belfast UKIP representative Ken Boyle also welcomed the prospect of new social housing at the site, and plans for other new properties at Deerfin Park in the estate.
Mr Boyle, who lives in the Rathcoole area, praised local community worker Phil Hamilton for his efforts over the years towards securing the demolition and redevelopment of the derelict property at Old Irish Highway.
Commenting on the overall social housing situation in the Rathcoole area, he called on the Housing Executive to rent out the “dozens of flats” within the estate that are currently lying empty.
“With investment in place for more social housing it would be good for more investment to go into the multi-storey flats and other vacant properties to repair them and bring them up to good living standards for local residents,” he said.