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COMMUNITIES IN HOUSING BOOST; Minister unveils plans for regeneration areas.

Byline: MICHAEL McHUGH

SIX special regeneration areas have been earmarked to build stronger communities, the Social Development Minister has revealed.

Parts of North and West Belfast and Ballymena were chosen for pilot projects which aim to improve housing and reverse decline.

Minister Nelson McCausland said: "While much has been done to support disadvantaged communities, some initiatives have not really worked in the way they should have.

"There are still areas blighted by dereliction and decay, with empty houses boarded up and land that lies derelict and undeveloped. These problems drag a community down, becoming magnets for anti-social behaviour and dumping.

"They blight the lives of the residents, creating despair and are a lost opportunity. There still blighted "It is wrong to condemn people to living in such situations and I am determined to do something about it."

He added there was a tendency to simply bulldoze the empty properties, clear the site and walk away.

Mr McCausland said: "A bulldozer and some grass seed is simply not good enough.

"Communities are left with the heart torn out of them.

"We need a more radical approach that will deliver results.

"An approach that truly engages with local people so what have become forgotten communities, can once again become thriving and successful.

"This has been done elsewhere and this pilot programme will allow us to try a range of initiatives to see what works best."

There are still areas blighted by dereliction with houses boarded up NELSON MCCAUSLAND on regeneration plans
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 28, 2013
Words:249
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