A housing association has been appointed to draw up plans for the redevelopment of a derelict block of flats in the Rathcoole estate.
The Housing Executive confirmed this week that its has nominated Helm Housing to progress proposals for transforming the eyesore property at Old Irish Highway, subject to approval of a vesting order.
The Executive is currently making a legal bid to take ownership of the flats, which have been lying empty for several years.
Residents in neighbouring properties have had to put up with ongoing problems at the site such as vandalism, anti-social behaviour and fly-tipping.
A spokesperson for the Housing Executive said that the vesting application is with the departmental solicitor and that a decision on the matter is expected “in the near future.”
“Should vesting be approved, Helm Housing Association has been nominated to progress proposals for redevelopment of the site,” she added.
Welcoming the progress on the issue, North Belfast MP Nigel Dodds commented: “DUP representatives have been working in partnership with the local community to remove this cause of blight. We wish to see this privately-owned block of flats brought back into public ownership so that it can be demolished and redeveloped for much-needed local homes.
“I am pleased to confirm that consultation on the vesting order has now closed and two objections to the redevelopment of the site were withdrawn. This now means that the Department for Social Development can submit the vesting application to the courts in order to give them ownership of the site.”
The DUP man added: “Helm Housing Association has been appointed by the Housing Executive to bring forward plans for new social homes on the site.
“We welcome that the long process of bringing about the redevelopment of this derelict block is now reaching the final stages and we will continue to work with the Housing Executive and local residents to clear the final obstacles.”