CITY Hall is to explore the total closure of a laneway in Mayfield which has been a major source of antisocial behaviour in recent years.
People living adjacent to the Tarry Path have been "terrified in their homes", facing drinking, drug dealing, broken windows and fires on a regular basis.
The troublesome path runs behind Lagan Grove and is used as a link route by residents in other nearby housing estates. However, amid escalating issues of antisocial behaviour in recent years, the campaign to shut the path has gathered momentum.
At a ward meeting yesterday afternoon, councillors discussed the prospect of a fence to protect the properties. However, it was determined that the fence - proposed to be just 7ft and at a cost of €40,000 to install and maintain - would not offer a real solution.
Instead, City Hall will now begin the process of blocking the lane entirely, according to Sinn Fein councillor Stephen Cunningham.
"The health and safety of the community has to come first," he said.
"I have lived in Mayfield my whole life and this is the first real step towards solving this problem. Locals are terrified in their own homes and that cannot go on."
Longer term, City Hall has ambitions to develop infill housing in the area. Mr Cunningham said that it the right move but welcomed plans to block the lane as antisocial issues worsen in the good weather.
"The guards are under resourced, which adds to it," he continued.
"People gather in this area and do their damage, breaking windows and whatever else, and make their getaway before the guards can even respond.
"Ultimately, this is not getting better. People are turning a blind eye and it has made no difference so this process is necessary."
City Hall will now begin the process of extinguishing the right of way, which includes a public consultation process.
If there are no objections, the route could be closed off before the end of the year, bringing an end to more than a decade of antisocial behaviour in the area, Mr Cunningham added.