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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 February 2006, 09:26 GMT
Centre plans 'could be rejected'
Anna Lo
The CWA's Anna Lo has written to the environment minister
An application to build a Chinese community centre in Belfast may be rejected by the Planning Service, the Chinese Welfare Association has said.

A site on the Ormeau Road was offered as an alternative location by the city council after Donegall Pass residents objected to the centre being put there.

However, outstanding planning issues mean the new site may not be suitable.

The Planning Service said it had not yet received further information it requested from the association.

A spokesman said officials met the applicant last month and once they received the additional information they would consider it further.

'Commercial interests'

The CWA's Anna Lo said she has written to Environment Minister Lord Rooker and MPs asking for assistance.

"The proposed centre has been shifted from pillar to post for several years now and if the planning issue is not resolved, we stand to lose some funding which is time-bound," Ms Lo said.

She said the association felt victimised.

"When we get the site we want, we are told by local people that we are not welcome there - that has happened twice.

"When we are competing against commercial interests, we simply cannot put up millions of pounds for a site in south Belfast.

"Many, many blocks are put in front of the Chinese welfare centre."

The association has secured more than 1m in funding for the project. This total includes a lottery grant worth 233,000.

The proposed centre will have offices for CWA staff, a multi-purpose hall, library, training room, conference room, playgroup facilities, outdoor playground and car parking space.

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