Changing face of Andytown
Character of old fades away as the Planners, Builders go Apartment crazy

The Andersonstown Road looks set to experience further upheaval, the Andersonstown News has learned, with the proposed demolision of two elegant detached homes to make way for another two apartment blocks in the area.

The proposed sites at 80 and 86 Andersonstown Road are in close proximity to another two recently demolished imposing homes on the Andersonstown Road and Fruithill Park, which were bulldozed to cater for the huge demand for housing in the area. The latest applications bring to 45 the number of apartments currently in development in Andersonstown alongside the large number of existing apartments.

The historic character of the road, which has experienced re-development at a dizzying pace over the past five years, will be further diminished by the erection of new apartments, made possible due to the clear absence of a development overview or strategy for the area.

Having already witnessed the loss of a number of beautiful detached residential properties in the area, Stockman’s resident Marian Lenzi voiced the concerns of the local community at the prospect of further high-intensity housing development. She said that the development will bring 45 new families to the area as well as 45 new cars to further congest the Andersonstown Road, putting further strain on already overstretched local amenities.

SDLP Councillor Alex Attwood voiced his concern at the continued development of the Andersonstown Road and said, “The planners have been asked to halt further development of the area until a proper integrated plan has been developed, which will prevent ad-hoc, building which destroys the character of the road.

“But I am not surprised at this latest proposed development,” added Cllr Attwood, “because the planners are insisting on treating the area in an arbitrary and anti-community way, demonstrated through the approval of the Whitefort and the mass of apartments being built in the area.

“It is obvious that the planners can’t see further than to the end of their noses and it is destroying the character of the area.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Michael Browne said, “There definitely needs to be some thought given to how West Belfast is being developed.

“These old buildings are being replaced by apartment blocks, and while I can acknowledge that there is a need for housing, there is also a need to strike a sensible balance.

“Residential housing is 100 per cent necessary,” he continued, “but so too are the amenities that go with it, like leisure facilities, health facilities and green areas that will allow people to properly go about their daily business, and without adequate provision of these, problems can arise.

“It is an issue that is concerning local residents who have been in touch with me asking questions, but it is very hard to make a judgement on the issue because we are just seeing planning applications as they are coming in on a fortnightly basis. There doesn’t seem to be a master plan in place here.

“There is a certain character to the Andersonstown area that the old buildings create and this character is being stripped in favour of apartment blocks.

“I am sympathetic to the need for housing and that people need places to live, but there needs to be an overview put in place here.”

Journalist:: Ciara McGuigan

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