Works commence ahead of Rathcoole tower block demolition

Preparatory work has started ahead of next year’s demolition of one of Rathcoole’s iconic multi-storeys.

Monday, 25th October 2021, 4:22 pm
Updated Monday, 25th October 2021, 5:21 pm

The Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE) outlined the proposed timetable for the removal of the Newtownabbey estate’s Monkscoole House after the tender invitation process went live in February.

The Department for Communities approved the housing authority’s business case recommending the tumbling of the vacant high-rise unit in January 2020.

NIHE also proposes to demolish the adjacent Abbotscoole House.

Work has started ahead of Monkscoole House's demolition.

Correspondence seen by this newspaper from the Housing Executive to residents at neighbouring Carncoole House states that work was to begin at Monkscoole House on Monday, October 18.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Housing Executive said: “We appointed a contractor in August 2021 to undertake the demolition of Monkscoole House. It is anticipated the flats will be demolished by mid-2022, with site clearance and reinstatement works following that, to complete by the end of 2022.

“It is proposed that Abbotscoole House will be demolished in the next five years, with the combined cleared sites facilitating new social housing for the area. Work will soon begin to prepare a business case to consider options for Abbotscoole House.

“As with any of the blocks of flats in the Tower Blocks Action Plan, this business case will require approval from the Department for Communities.”

Macedon UUP Councillor Robert Foster has continuously called for the estate’s tower blocks to be retained.

Cllr Foster said: “It is extremely disappointing to see the demolition of Monkscoole commence. I still firmly believe it is the wrong option. Given the high levels of over 500 on the housing waiting list in the area, it would have been more beneficial to upgrade the accommodation in Monkscoole to deal with the crisis we have in housing.”

Noting the campaign to save the units has cross-party support, he added: “I will continue to push, along with other elected reps to retain the three other multi storey blocks.”

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