I am delighted that after many years of lobbying with local residents from Annadale Flats, the Department for Social Development has finally commenced work on a kitchen replacement scheme.
While there is much still to be done, this is a positive step forward for the residents who have had to endure poor living conditions for too long. Many of the kitchens were the originals from when the block was built in the 1960’s. After 50 years of wear and tear, they were in a terrible state and not fit for modern family life.
In an effort to address the problem I brought the then DSD Minister Margaret Ritchie to Annadale Flats in the summer of 2010, to see the unacceptable conditions in many of the flats. This gave residents and representatives from the Chinese Welfare Association an opportunity to make their views known directly to the Minister. I am delighted that work has now commenced on the kitchens and am continuing to lobby alongside Councillor Michelle Bostock for further work in the flats on communal areas and pitched roofs.
This investment by DSD is a welcome development that will make a real difference to the lives of people living in the Annadale area. It will help attract young families back to the area and promote a vibrant sustainable community.
I am lobbying for similar investment in other areas of South Belfast. I have been working closely with residents in Ivanhoe Avenue to have traffic calming introduced in the area . I am continuing to lobby for a new Primary School in Inner-South to amalgamate three existing schools with falling pupil numbers and high maintenance costs. I want to see a youth club in Donegall Pass and investment in training and youth work in areas such as Taughmonagh, the Village and Sandy Row.
These projects together with the work that has commenced in Annadale require relatively small amounts of investment but they undoubtedly make a huge difference to the local communities. I am committed to continue pursuing any avenues that will see these and other local projects across South Belfast delivered on the ground.