The angry dispute over the future use of Glengormley Police Station has intensified after the council’s Development Committee agreed to seek a valuation for the site.
The Antrim Road barracks closed to the public in June 2012 and the PSNI is now disposing of the facility.
The NI Housing Executive has expressed an interest in the property for social housing, but the council is also exploring the possibility of making use of the site.
A bitter row erupted earlier this month between the DUP and Sinn Fein over the future use of the land at Glenwell Road.
The parties are at loggerheads on the issue, with Sinn Fein MLA Gerry Kelly wanting to see the site used for social housing, while DUP Councillor Phillip Brett has suggested that Newtownabbey Council may be able to use the location for a recycling centre.
“The Glengormley Masterplan has clearly identified the former PSNI barracks site for homes. And the Housing Executive have, at Sinn Fein’s request, expressed their interest in the site as is the proper process,” Mr Kelly said.
“For some DUP councillors in Newtownabbey to now try to shift the goal posts and argue for a waste plant rather than homes defies logic and runs against addressing need in the area.”
However, Cllr Brett, who points to the need for social housing in Glenvarna and Queens Park, hit back at the North Belfast MLA, accusing him of trying to deny the people of Glengormley their right to have a say on the future use of the site.
“The only person attempting to move the goal posts here is Mr Kelly. The reality is simple - Newtownabbey Borough Council and the residents of Newtownabbey will be afforded the opportunity to express their views on this site,” the Antrim Line representative commented.
“It beggars belief that a so-called local politician wishes to deny the people of Glengormley their say on the future of this site.
“The DUP will continue to ensure that it is the views of local residents and ratepayers that shape the future for Glengormley Police Station.”
At their February meeting, members of the council’s Development Committee agreed to seek a valuation for the site.
The decision, taken by majority vote, still has to be ratified when full council meets on February 24.
• Read more in next week’s Times...