Barracks to go by September

Andersonstown Barracks will be demolished by September according to the SDLP, who have set out proposals for the future of the site.

The SDLP say that an official announcement on the decision to close the barracks will be made at the beginning of June.

Proposals for the future of the barracks, set out by the SDLP include opening up the site to the public before demolition, developing a landmark building on the site which will give the local community a sense of ownership, erecting a memorial monument and creating a green area around the proposed new building. The SDLP have also proposed that following demolition of the site, an archaeological dig should take place to explore the archeological history of the site.

The proposals were launched by Lord Mayor of Belfast Martin Morgan, SDLP Policing spokesman Alex Attwood and local Councillor Margaret Walsh outside the barracks on Thursday.

SDLP MLA Alex Attwood, speaking to the Andersonstown News at the launch, said that the future of the site cannot be decided without determining the wishes of local people.

“The decision to close the station will be taken in the first week in June and the issue now is not the closure it is the future of the site,”said Mr Attwood.

“We have three phases of proposals and have gone round the doors in the area and delivered 500 letters to see what people think,” he added.
Mr Attwood said that the first proposal involves opening up the site prior to demolition for community access.

“There are a number of ideas in circulation,” said Mr Attwood.

“These include a photographic exhibition where a collective of photographers would present photographs going through all sides of what happened in and around this building.”

The second phase of the SDLP proposal involves exploring evidence which suggests that the site of the barracks was once an iron age fort and subsequently a fourteenth century church.

“We are saying that the archaeologists should be allowed on the site to see what is in there, because after demolition before anything is done, and this might take 18 months or two years or longer. There is plenty of time and adequate opportunity for an archeological dig to happen which would give an added feature to the this part of the world.”

Mr Attwood said that the third stage of the proposals is to erect a landmark building that is reflective of the strength of character of the people of West Belfast.

“We believe that there should be some memorial to the people who suffered in and around the barracks, be they civilians or police so that it may be an inclusive memorial,” he added.

Mr Attwood said that the building should be inclusive of all the people in West Belfast.

“The building should not be an entertainment facility, restaurant, hot food bar or licenced premises, it should be something to do with the workings and the needs of people in West Belfast. It should not be hostel-based, it is a landmark site and should be defined in a landmark way not as yet another development for mixed use but a particular development for landmark use.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast Martin Morgan said that the barracks represented the past.
“The impact of Andersonstown Road barracks goes beyond the boundaries of Andersonstown and West Belfast, for me personally it was a symbol of the division and the troubled past of our country and our city.”

Mayor Morgan said that although the SDLP were putting forward proposals for the site, it is ultimately local people who should decide the site’s fate.

“The barracks surely had a negative impact on the emotional fabric of West Belfast society. Things happened in the barracks that we probably prefer nowadays not to talk about, things happened in this barracks that we can only guess and we have to listen to the stories of people in the area, so there is no better use than to see it closed and turned into a facility for the people of West Belfast.”

Journalist:: Staff Reporter

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?