Council could sue over city’s neglected alleyways

Belfast Council is to look at suing other authorities over neglected residential alleyways.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 12th October 2021, 1:28 pm

At the recent meeting of the full Belfast Council elected members heard an update on the alleyway transformation pilot scheme which had funding recently green-lighted from Stormont’s Department for Infrastructure.

Councillors voted on a “flexible approach” as to how £7,500 could be spent in each alley. While welcoming the pilot scheme, some councillors have argued the problem of unadopted alleyways – alleys not claimed by any party as property – remains unaddressed.

Alliance Councillor Michelle Kelly welcomed the Stormont funding but said many unadopted alleys were “dangerous” and added this was worsened by issues with bin collections.

She said: “Residents are increasingly frustrated with the lack of action to address this. I know there have been a variety of motions on this issue here, I know there are cross departmental attempts to look at the most problematic alleyways, and that had to take a back seat due to Covid. But I do think we do need to do more.”

She proposed that the City Solicitor look at legal action the council can take against other bodies for failure to take action in respect of unadopted alleys.

She said: “The lack of responsibility taken by other agencies is completely unacceptable.”

A council report last year identified the top 20 problematic unadopted alleyways across Belfast. A council group was set up to identify ownership and engage the relevant statutory authorities.

Since then Stormont’s Department for Infrastructure said that up to £2m would be available across all councils in Northern Ireland for transformation schemes for unadopted and adopted alleys.