A South Belfast community organisation has expressed concerns about a proposed social housing development in the Market area.

Habinteg Housing Association has submitted plans for a four-storey building on Verner Street comprising 15 apartments, office space and ancillary development.

The proposals have been recommended for approval ahead of next Tuesday’s (April 20) meeting of the Belfast City Council planning committee. However, a number of objections have been raised about the development by the Market Development Association (MDA), Ulster Architectural Heritage, and Pragma Planning.

The MDA, which is spearheaded by local residents, says the proposed apartments will offer “substandard design and living conditions”.

It said “apartments are too small, have extremely poor amenity space, and several will effectively have no sunlight for most of the year” with one resident describing them as akin to “rabbit hutches”.

Concerns were also raised around fire safety and impact on local built heritage including the nearby St  George’s Market.

In a letter to city councillors, Fionntán Hargey of the MDA said that while people in the area “welcome, and campaign strongly for, increased housing provision in the area they expect this to be of a certain quality and standard. As it stands, this plan does not succeed in providing a healthy, sustainable and quality living environment,” he wrote.

Belfastmedia.com has contacted Habinteg to seek a response to the criticism of the new housing scheme.