Local UUP Assemblyman Robin Swann has challenged DUP Minister Nelson McCausland “to get his act together and take urgent action to address the Doury Road housing crisis”.
Mr Swann issued his call to the Minister during recent Stormont questions on the document, ‘Facing the Future: Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland’ which contains a proposal to pilot, in four areas, a housing-led approach to regenerate communities that have experienced blight, dereliction and decline.
Mr Swann asked the Minister: “The Doury Road in my constituency of North Antrim is one of those areas. Will the Minister confirm that that project is going ahead and that it is not being delayed by the request by Sinn Féin to add a fifth area?”
Responding, Minister McCausland said that the project has not been delayed and that Doury Road “ticks all the boxes” with regard to meeting the set criteria.
He replied: “Having brought forward the proposal for housing-led regeneration, which was an initiative by me and the Department, we went out and, in a sense, advertised, publicised and made known that new programme.
“Housing-led regeneration is good practice elsewhere in United Kingdom but, so far, it has never been implemented in Northern Ireland.
“I took the opportunity to visit four areas where people have expressed an interest in this. The Doury Road was one of those areas, and I met with local representatives and local residents there.
“We are now assessing all the potential areas that we could look at on the basis of set criteria. Once those have been finalised, an announcement will be made fairly soon on the final set of areas that will be taken forward under the programme. The Doury Road certainly ticks all the boxes,” said the Minister.
“We will announce the areas that are going to be taken forward in a few weeks. When I was up at Doury Road, I told the folk there that the programme will be taken forward very quickly,” he said.