UUP Environment spokesperson Danny Kinahan MLA has said that current legislation that deals with incomplete building sites urgently needs to be updated in line with modern health and safety standards.
“Abandoned building sites and “ghost estates” are a relatively new phenomenon in Northern Ireland. They are one of the visible symptoms of the downturn in the property market and have unfortunately been becoming a common sight across the country.’
“It is clear that building owners should have a duty of care to ensure that their properties are maintained in a safe condition, so that members of the public are not needlessly put at risk.’
“There are big downfalls with the current legislation. It is outdated and not fit for purpose. It was drawn up for the 19th century and does not sit in line with modern health and safety standards.’
“It is vital to resolving this problem that the Department of the Environment engages with local councils to find a solution to the growing problem of incomplete sites.’
Mid Ulster MLA, Sandra Overend added:
“The issues which arise from derelict buildings and abandoned sites are twofold - they create an ugly eyesore in our towns and villages and they put the safety of anyone in the vicinity at risk.’
“There is a need to vest councils with greater power to respond and address local issues more quickly. It is also necessary to make sure that language in any new legislation provides more clarity in areas such as the definition of an owner.’