Several weeks ago I wrote a post giving my analysis of the proposed build by La Salle on Glassmullin and those residents who oppose it. Since then I have read the constant demonisation of residents in the local media.
As I have said before I believe that Glassmullin pitch should be in the ownership of the community. I think improvements could be made to the pitch but only small changes and nothing on the scale that La Salle are proposing. If La Salle’s plans go ahead then the ownership of the pitch will belong to the school with an artificial pitch, flood lights and fencing. It will be a private enterprise for La Salle and they will even be kind enough to charge those who live around a pitch a fee to use it.
For many residents in greater Andersonstown, Glassmullin pitch is a place that holds many memories. I have spoke to different residents who have spoke about playing on it as a child or being taught how to ride a bike. The many stories that I have heard have demonstrated to me that it just isn’t a green field to many people but is a space that holds sentimental value. Any time I pass the field there is young people playing in it and very rarely do I see anti-social behaviour. During the summer the link community centre made plans to hold a fun day on the pitch for the entire community. This would not be possible if the proposed plans went ahead.
Those who write into the Andytown News would have you believe that the pitch was a constant hot spot for anti-social behaviour and that it is never used by the public. Residents would admit that there still is a problem with anti-social behaviour in Glassmullin but that it has died down a lot in recent years. Is the reason for the anti-social behaviour in the area down to there being a green field and will the development of the site stop anti-social behaviour? Using this as an excuse to put support behind the development makes no sense at all. If the plans go ahead and the under lying issues of social behaviour are not addressed then it will not go away.
The demonisation of residents of Glassmullin needs to stop and people need to realise that they are best placed to decide what is best for their community. The space has so much potential that can be used by La Salle and the wider community. The area could be used as an open pitched used by all the community and areas with allotments etc. or if the residents want it should be just left as a green space. Residents are obviously happy enough just having it the way it is with kids playing on it, youths playing football or people walking dogs. It is an invaluable asset for such a close knit community.