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Holyland meeting ‘last chance’ for locals to influence outcome

By Scott Jamison

Residents in the Holyland will take part in another workshop early next month to allow them the opportunity to give input to a report on the area’s problems.

The Belfast City Council-designed report was commissioned following a consultation into the student heartland and its anti-social behaviour problems last year.

A ‘baseline’ copy of the Holyland and Wider University Area Strategic Study report has already been seen by the Holyland Residents’ Association (HRA). However, no recommendations have yet been made from it, meaning next month’s meeting will be the last chance for residents to influence the report before its scheduled publication at the end of March.

Liam Kielty, who will be attending the February 6 meeting at the City Church in University Avenue as a representative of the HRA, said the group’s main focus would be to bring up the subject of purpose-built student housing.

“Our main call has always been about having student accommodation built away from the Holyland and closer to the city centre where there are fewer residents.

“The copy of the draft report we have seen talks about how there are too many students here and there is a major under-representation of student accommodation throughout the rest of Belfast.

“We have talked about this for so long but it will be good to keep the pressure up and have some progress.”

Liam said he was hopeful the finished copy of the report would back the residents’ thoughts on overcrowding, anti-social behaviour and an abundance of vehicles in the Holyland.

“We have been saying the stuff the report will hopefully make official for years, so it will be good to have it all in black and white and be backed by the authorities.

“We are quite hopeful because things have progressed well so far and at long last we may have some movement on solving the problems in this area.”

A spokesman for Belfast City Council added: “This is just one of a series of final meetings being held ahead of the report’s publication at the end of March.”




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