Christopher Stalford


I remember it when I was a would come here to do your shopping. I remember going to different shops...there was a wee toy shop, I can’t remember the name of it. I always remember my Grandma Bobby taking me in there to get something on a Saturday.

I think that Sandy Row can have a big positive future if we get the development right.  One of the things I think that has happened over the past thirty years has been that development hasn't been got right, it hasn't been community-focused, it hasn't been about ensuring the stability of this community going forward into the next generation and the generation after that.

We need to have development here that’s community-led, and it's about creating a sustainable community in the centre of Belfast. And that's where, I think, we have to get the next 10, 15 years right.

I want young people form this community to want to stay in this community. And the way that we will do that is by creating opportunities for them, that they see it as desirable to want to stay in this community.

Throughout South Belfast, the lack of available social housing is one of the things that is forcing people out of the place that they were born and reared, so I mean in terms of housing and anything that comes from that, it cannot be, it cannot be blocks of, pardon the term, it cannot be blocks of yuppie apartments. It needs to be social housing for the benefit of the community.

So I’m really enthusiastic and excited about the future. Ultimately all of this depends, well not all of it, but a lot of it depends on getting a government up and running in Stormont. I think...hopefully we’ll be able to do that and use the tools at our disposal in terms of devolution to deliver to the people that live here.

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