We look at the stories that were making the headlines this week in 1983

New Lodge residents demand flats to be pulled down

ALL the families in the New Lodge's Sheridan Flats complex have added their names to a petition calling for the total demolition of the “run-down dwellings”.

And their call has received the backing of people in neighbouring streets who regard the flats, which stand in the middle of a redevelopment area, as an eyesore.

At an outdoor demonstration on Monday, flats residents vented their anger at the Housing Executive’s attitude to their complaints. "They won’t tell us what plans they have for the flats and ignore us when we describe our problems," said spokeswoman for the tenants, Marie Storey.

The most common grievances expressed by residents, involve dampness, rat infestation and chronic sewage piping. 

"The dampness is the worst, especially on the top flats where the water lies on the flat roofs, but the people are very concerned about the rat problem," said Marie. 

Mrs. Hannah Parks who has lived in the Sheridan Flats for 17 years, said her husband had killed four rats in their flat within the last two months. Locals link the rat infestation to the sewage system which, according to a local community worker, “has never worked since the flats were built”.

"In bad weather, the whole square in front of the flats is flooded with sewage, alleged Mrs. Storey, who continued "it's surprising that no child has picked up polio in the good weather when the area is absolutely stinking." 

Two flats in the complex have been blocked up for several years now, and say residents, are being used as dens by teenage glue-sniffers. Within the next few weeks the Sheridan Flats' residents hope to arrange a meeting with Housing Executive area manager Jim Lavery to discuss their demand for demolition.

Dunnes Stores for Celtic Park

A PLAN by Dunnes Stores to set up shop in what is now Celtic Park is only one of a number of extensive shopping developments scheduled for West Belfast. Planning permission for the Celtic Park scheme, involving “A Mall Shopping Centre, Ancillary Accommodation and Car Parking,” appeared in the press last Friday.

The application was made by city centre estate agents Brookemount Properties for it is believed the Dunnes Store chain. If the plan is given the go-ahead, construction work can begin anytime within the next three years.

It is also reported that Dunnes propose to build a second supermarket at Boucher Road.
Meanwhile, excavation work has begun at the Dairy Farm Centre on the Stewartstown Road, and on a smaller shopping centre beside the Andersonstown Leisure Centre.
The Dairy Farm plan is to provide major shopping and health facilities in the centre for all of Twinbrook, Poleglass, Suffolk, Lenadoon and Ladybrook.

Work on the Andersonstown mini-shopping arcade, which will comprise of six shops, was delayed because a local retailer objected to the new complex jutting nine-foot out from the existing building line.

‘Can we be consulted on Broadway redevelopment?’ – Local residents

A WEST Belfast tenants’ group has demanded more consultation with the Housing Executive in the extensive redevelopment plans for their areas.

And now Broadway Housing Action Group have dispatched a letter to Executive Area Manager Jim Kennedy outlining the six most common questions about the planned redevelopment asked by locals.

According to a spokesperson, the letter reflects the widespread feeling in the Broadway/Thames/Braemar area that residents are being kept in the dark as regards Executive strategy.

To date, no reply has been received to the letter, sent on 13th April. Among the “relevant questions” it poses are:

1 If a pre-vesting valuation is done and is an acceptable sum to the residents, will the Housing Executive honour that valuation at time of vesting?

2 If the houses now being built at Iveagh are to house people in the redevelopment area, can the Committee be involved in their design etc?

Questions 3, 4 and 5 deal with the possibility that the Housing Executive may now have the necessary finance for the redevelopment which is timed to begin in December 1983.
The Action Committee has also demanded clarification on the fate of the recently refurbished Dutch pilot schemes homes in Thames Street and Braemar Street.

If these questions are not answered satisfactorily, the group have threatened to cease all co-operation with the NIHE in the area.

Explained the spokesperson: “We feel we are entitled to be fully consulted and kept up-to-date with all developments which involve our homes.

“However, because it has been utterly impossible to arrange a meeting with the Executive we were forced to send off this letter. Basically, we are calling for a definite statement from the Executive on all the facts of this issue.”