SDLP meets with Castlebrooke Investments

Séamas de Faoite Belfast city centre Tribeca

A delegation of SDLP representatives met with Castlebrooke Investments in Belfast on Thursday.

The company are behind the Tribeca development in Belfast city centre.

Attending were SDLP Leader of the Opposition Matthew O’Toole, SDLP City Council Group Leader Séamas de Faoite, Councillor Gary McKeown and Councillor Carl Whyte.

Councillor de Faoite said:

“Despite having acquired the majority of the site and secured planning permission pre-pandemic for two phases of development, work to build-out the Tribeca project has yet to commence. It has been a sense of great frustration for those of us who want to see Belfast grow that we are no further on all these years later. This is a space that could transform disused buildings into businesses, homes and other community assets that bring new life into our city

"The SDLP were very clear with Castlebrooke that the status quo was not an option and sought direct clarification on what steps they were taking, as the site owner, to end this dereliction. Ignoring future requests from councillors and the council for meetings is no longer an option and council is examining the prospect of vesting the site.

“We strongly believe that a concerted effort must be made to address dereliction and vacancy in Belfast city centre. During the recent NIO rates consultation we were the only party in Belfast to raise the need for more powers like dereliction and vacancy taxes and the removal of rates reductions for vacancy. Other parties didn’t even bother to respond. If we are ever going to make any progress on these issues then we have to get creative and tackle them head on. If we do nothing we will still be talking about overhauling our city centre in a decade's time.

“The SDLP believes there is a clear need for regeneration of the city centre which makes it an attractive place to live, work and visit whilst working to preserve as much as possible of the built heritage. There is so much potential in our city, we could totally reimagine the centre into a vibrant, active space with something to offer everyone, but we’ll never be able to do that while major development sites like this lie vacant.”

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