Victory for Save Our Barracks!

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I have on one or two past occasions been a bit flippant about the Save Our Barracks campaign in Andytown. It seems I have underestimated the campaign, as the Carvill Group, which had won the tender to build an apartment block on the derelict site where the old Glen Road barracks used to stand, has now pulled out. This is due to the mobilisation of the local community on a “Down with this sort of thing” basis, which had led to a question mark over the planning process.

I’m sure those involved will be very happy with this. In fact, there’s a fair possibility of the SWP – sorry, People Before Profit – trying to organise a victory parade, although the Provos, who have been making the running on this issue, might look askance at that.

The question now is, what will be done with the site? As I see it, there are three possibilities:

1. Another private developer will buy the site, and stick up some development – possibly a hotel or a restaurant – with a community component, such as an ex-prisoners’ interpretive centre. This must rank as the most likely option. Besides, Carvill’s experience will have been off-putting to developers outside the republican Big Tent, so now would be a good opportunity for any mate of Gerry’s in the construction industry to get the site at a knock-down price.

2. The ground could lie derelict indefinitely. Since every square inch of ground in West Belfast is being built on, this doesn’t seem very likely.

3. The Stormont Executive could agree to a public-sector development on the site. With the DUP holding the purse-strings, this is even less likely. The most the community could hope for is probably a corrugated iron hut for kids to play pool in. Bear in mind also that the area is already coming down with community centres and the like. That is, unless somebody in the campaign goes beyond intoning “community project” and puts forward a solid and eye-catching proposal.

I will watch future developments with interest.

1 Comment

  1. CyberScribe said,

    October 7, 2007 at 9:02 pm

    Go on , start a rumour that Seymour Sweeney is interested 🙂


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