In 2013, Lower Oldpark became one of six pilot project areas included in the Department for Communities’ (DfC) Housing Led Regeneration initiative’. In 2014, this became the ‘Building Successful Communities’ (BSC) initiative.
BSC is part of the Government’s ‘Facing the Future - Housing Strategy for Northern Ireland’ and aims to use housing intervention as one of the main catalysts for local regeneration.
A BSC Regeneration Forum was established for each pilot area. The Lower Oldpark Forum first met in August 2014. Its role has been to develop and take forward plans to tackle the community’s economic, social and physical regeneration needs. Membership was drawn from public bodies and community and church groups.
The Lower Oldpark BSC Forum agreed an Action Plan for the regeneration of the neighbourhood in 2016. This comprised three physical regeneration ‘Catalyst Projects’ which are summarised below.
In September 2017, LOCA prepared an outline proposal for the development of affordable housing on the open space site that was previously covered by Mountview Court, Beechnut Place, Beechpark Street housing, adjacent to the Oldpark Road peace wall.
From this time, LOCA lobbied Building Successful Communities (BSC) for this scheme to be included in the Lower Oldpark Regeneration Action Plan as a fourth Calalyst Project in April 2018. BSC did not support this and set out a number of arguments in defence of its position. It also placed a number of obstacles in the way of the scheme becoming a fourth Catlayst Project in April 2018. LOCA strongly challenged this approach by BSC.
LOCA was very disappointed in the approach taken by BSC. The Group viewed it as unnecessarily delaying an already long delayed Lower Oldpark regeneration process.
In a letter to BSC dated 8th June 2018, LOCA advised BSC that, in respect to this site, it will in future drive forward, in partnership with the community, housing regeneration outside the framework of the BSC process.
In October 2018, the first meeting of the new, Lower Oldpark Housing Group took place.. This brought together LOCA, NIHE and local political party representatives for the purpose moving forward the development of vacant Lower Oldpark sites not covered by the BSC initiative. The main focus of the Group has been to secure the development of affordable housing on the site that was previously covered by Mountview Court, Beechnut Place, Beechpark Street housing, . Also, the development of affordable housing and LOCA community facilities on the open, space lying between 62 Cliftonpark Avenue and Alloa Street.
In respect to the Mountview Court, Beechnut Place, Beechpark Street site, LOCA has been lobbying hard for progress. At March 2021, the economic appraisal that will determine what the NIHE does with the site is nearing completion.
The Building Successful Communities has funded a number of initiatives, including:
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