Northern Ireland

Council may demolish north Belfast Orange hall

Orange Hall on Crumlin Road
Image caption Belfast City Council want to see the Orange Order repair the hall

Belfast City Council has considered taking enforcement action against the Orange Order over the condition of one of its buildings in north Belfast.

The council has been cracking down on owners of derelict buildings, using environmental laws to enforce repairs or demolitions.

One of the buildings is a near-derelict former Orange Hall on the Crumlin Road.

A senior council official is due to discuss the issue with a DUP representative in the area.

They will then decide if an enforcement notice will be issued.

DUP North Belfast councillor and assembly member William Humphrey said: "The DUP is working with Belfast City Council and the Orange Institution to find a resolution which will be mutually beneficial to both parties."

The building is for sale and has not been used for some time, with the local lodge meeting in a newer hall at the same address instead.

An Orange Order spokerperson said the hall had been attacked and badly damaged a number of times.

"The most recent attack was last summer and local Orangemen are working with different agencies to deal with the situation," they said.

The property crash has led to an increase in the number of derelict or dangerous buildings across the city as would-be landlords and developers have been unable to continue with projects.

In response the council's Building Control Service has been using the Pollution Control and Local Government (NI) Order to enforce repairs.

If owners fail to take action then the council will do the repairs and bill the owner.

In one case the council demolished a derelict industrial building at Ravensdale Street in east Belfast after it was unable to trace the owners.

Other demolitions are due to take place in south and east Belfast this month.

The Building Control Service is due to brief councillors on Monday with details of 72 buildings it is currently dealing with.