Councillor urges clean up of Greenbrae site

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Councillor urges clean up of Greenbrae site thumbnailMounds of rubbish, empty caravans and abandoned cars at the Greenbrae site.

A LOCAL councillor has called for an immediate clean up of Strabane's Greenbrae Traveller halting site.

Patsy Kelly described the derelict site as an "awful mess" and says action must be taken to remove the abandoned caravans and mounds of rubbish strewn across the site.

Once described as "the worst" halting site in Northern Ireland due to its squalid conditions and a lack of basic amenities such as running water and an electricity supply, Greenbrae had been home to members of the Travelling community for more than 20 years.

The site - which sits just off the main A5 through Strabane - closed last year to facilitate a revamp. No firm indication has been given as to when it will re-open.

The Housing Executive - who part-own Greebrae along with Derry City and Strabane District Council (DCSDC) - closed down the site in August to allow for urgent repairs and upgrades but to date, that work has not been undertaken and it has lain in a state of disrepair ever since.

In recent months, families who were removed from Greenbrae had set up home on an area of land just yards away on the site of the former 'Camel's Hump' at Lifford Road.

Speaking at Thursday's monthly meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council, independent councillor Patsy Kelly said he was concerned about the condition and abandonment of the site.

"The former site at Greenbrae - part of that belongs to this council. For anybody coming in or out of Strabane there's an awful sight of several abandoned vehicles. The site is generally a mess.

"Can we see what land we own and what we don't and whatever we own can we get it cleaned up?" he asked.

In response, Karen McFarland, director of Health and Community at DCSDC, said council officials have been liaising with the Housing Executive on the matter.

"There is a joint ownership of the site between both the Housing Executive and the council. Our senior environmental health officer is liaising on an ongoing basis with the Housing Executive regarding the issue

"I'll report that through the appropriate committee both in terms of any environmental health actions or environmental clean up actions that need to be undertaken," she said.

For its part, the Housing Executive told the Strabane Weekly News that a plan has been developed to progress the refurbishment of the site.

"A meeting was held in December between various partner agencies to discuss issues regarding the closed Greenbrae Travellers site in Strabane. Representatives from the Housing Executive, Derry City and Strabane District Council and the PSNI attended.

"A number of action points were agreed in order to progress refurbishment of the site. And a survey of the site and its surrounding area was undertaken last Friday. It is expected that a further meeting between the agencies will take place in March to review progress," a spokesperson said on Monday.


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