Saturday 19 August 2017 02:03:53 PM

Fears for Buildings as Social Services Move in Downpatrick
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ANOTHER potential site of arson and vandalism could be soon created in the heart of Downpatrick.

With ongoing  fears by local businesses and residents in the county town, Down District Councillor Liam Johnston (Sinn Féin) has expressed concern that the vacation of another property in Downpatrick could once again lead to anti-social behaviour.

Councillor Liam Johnston is concerned at the possibility of vacant property belonging to the South Eastern HSC Trust could again be vandalised in Downpatrick.

Councillor Liam Johnston is concerned at the possibility of vacant property belonging to the South Eastern HSC Trust could again be vandalised in Downpatrick.

Councillor Johnston  said: “With the Social Services moving out of their present base in Market Street to the Downshire hub site, there is a risk that the large derelict building left behind could become a magnet for anti-social behaviour. There are many windows and doors and flat roofs making it difficult to secure.

“We have already witnessed the attacks on the former St John’s residential homem the Pound Lane Clinic and the Ballyvange Community Centre. This is not a trend which we want to continue. We need to deal with the problem of derelict buildings quickly before anti-social elements have the chance to cause serious problems. I will be asking the South Eastern Health and Social care Trust  what their plans are for the building in Market Street and what arrangements are being made to secure the site when it becomes unoccupied.”

A spokesperson for the South Eastern HSC Trust said: “The Trust is planning to relocate some of the staff currently based in Market Street, Downpatrick, to refurbished accommodation in the Downshire Estate. It is anticipated that this will take place in summer 2013. The remainder of the staff will be relocated once suitable accommodation is available.”