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Councillors to be briefed on Greenbrae clean-up plans

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Councillors to be briefed on Greenbrae clean-up plans thumbnailAbandoned caravans at the entrance to the Greenbrae Traveller halting site in Strabane.

A REPORT outlining an action plan to refurbish and clean-up Strabane's Greenbrae Traveller halting site is due later this month, councillors have been told.

At the monthly meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Karen McFarland, director of Health and Community, said officials have been liaising with the Housing Executive with a view to addressing issues at the dilapidated site.

Independent councillor, Patsy Kelly, spoke out last month about the derelict site.

Describing it as an "awful mess" he called for immediate action to remove the abandoned caravans and mounds of rubbish strewn across the site.

The Ulster Unionist Party's Derek Hussey told Thursday''s meeting that he too has concerns over the current state of the site.

The Castlederg-based councillor said: "I'm getting people who pass that site day and daily who are becoming increasingly dismayed at the continual deteriorating state of the Greenbrae site and they are looking for answers. What are council doing about it?"

Ms McFarland told members the senior environmental health officer is working with the Housing Executive on the matter.

"A report is scheduled to be tabled to the Health and Communities Committee," she added.

Cllr Kelly queried what portion of the site council has ownership and responsibility for.

"We own half of that land. Are we not responsible for cleaning it up as well? We did clean it up when it was the old council," he said.

Council's lead solicitor, Philip Kingston explained that some of the land to the rear of the site is council-owned but not the actual Greenbrae site.

Independent cllr, Paul Gallagher asked the report to feed in with the Human Rights Commission who have carried out "an in depth" report of the accommodation for Traveller's in the Strabane area.

"There might be some useful information within that report which is due to be published shortly. It would be good to get the inside track on it," he added. Ms McFarland confirmed that officers have already "fed into that process".

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 - was closed last August by the Housing Executive to facilitate a revamp with no firm indication as yet when the site is expected to re-open.

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