SDLP South Belfast Councillor Gary McKeown said the incident this morning when masonry fell off the Scottish Mutual Building in Belfast City Centre shows just how important it is for the building to be protected and put back into use.
Cllr. McKeown said:
“The SDLP has repeatedly called for the Scottish Mutual Building to be regenerated and repurposed, and for plans around its use to be progressed as a matter of urgency. This landmark piece of our built heritage still has so much to offer yet has been allowed to lie unused for too long. As recently as last week, I raised concerns about the welfare of the building as historical listed buildings of this type need care and attention.
“It will be deeply alarming to those who live and work nearby that masonry fell off in the early hours of this morning. I walked past this spot myself just yesterday. This could have resulted in serious injury and we are extremely lucky that nobody was passing by at the time of this incident.
“I have spoken to Building Control and understand that the administrators have now been instructed to survey the building to ensure that it is safe. This should take place as soon as possible to help avoid any further incidents like this.
“This incident feeds into wider concerns expressed recently by traders, residents and elected representatives about the general state of our city centre, and I would like to once again call for redoubled efforts to get this building back into use so we can ensure its restoration for the benefit of everyone in our city as part of an essential move towards improving our city centre.”