Research project examines how pandemic affected Dalby Square residents’ use of homes

Dalby Square

A team from the University of Kent is carrying out a research project looking at how covid restrictions over the past 16 months have affected the way residents of Dalby Square in Cliftonville use their homes.

The team, headed by architecture lecturer Dr Ambrose Gillick, have launched a survey and would like to hear from residents about how their home lives have been over the last year and a half, and how-or if- they have been affected by the lockdowns.

Dr Gillick said: “The answers we are looking for are honest ones. They don’t have to be any great length or amount of detail, just people’s experiences, expressed as they see fit.

“The aim is to understand the effects of the pandemic and lockdown, particularly on home life and how homes were used and how lives were changed.

“We plan on following this survey later in the summer with a public event in Dalby Square which will hopefully include a small installation and display.”

Dalby Square is in a designated Conservation Area which comprises of groups of very large terraced houses fronting  a central garden. All properties were built in the late 1800s. However, the area is also in the fourth most deprived local authority sub-ward in England – Cliftonville West – out of 34,844 such areas, where adult male life expectancy is 18 years lower than the county’s least deprived ward.

The Conservation Area  is made up of 85% privately rented properties, mostly owned by absentee landlords and it has a highly transient population: 60% of the residents stay in area for less than a year.

The survey consists of 10 questions on the project website at



  1. and once the money has been wasted on this ” research ” what will change ? precisely nothing !

    • Quite likely its linked to the “project house” on the other side of the square that was refurbished/ redevolped as a home for a multigenerational family. University of Kent were involved. It had a pretty good chunk of the heritage grant scheme that operated in the dalby square area around 5years ago. Wouldn’t be surprising if its a bit of a follow up on the grant scheme too, to see if the square has changed much as a result.

      • Unfortunately the universities survey doesn’t seem to work on my ipad , so am unable to read all the questions. But the ones i can read are simplistic in the extreme , it’ll be interesting to see the outcome and conclusions of the “research “.

  2. A LOT of the flats in Dalby Square were on Air BNB over lockdown. Loads of people staying for short breaks there. Maybe that could be researched instead, especially when that practice was banned at the time.

    • Could you qualify “A Lot” , one of those terms that is so easily misconstrued. Many airbnb properties reverted back to longer term lets during covid, with the relaxing of the rules and the domestic holiday market thriving, its tenants being asked to leave flats reverting back to airbnb that has in no small,part lead to the rapidly rising rents and lack of avaialble rental property.

      • Yeah, sure. Three flats in my building were put on Air BNB whilst we were in lockdown. The occupants said that they went back to Bulgaria when the second lockdown happened. They were quite open and proud about it as they said made money renting them out on Air BNB as well as claiming benefits whilst living in their home country. They didn’t want to stay here with the restrictions. This was just one address. My neighbours from other buildings have all said the same

        • Ok thanks, so fraud as well as ignoring the lockdown rules. Though council would have assumed the tenants claiming were still in residence so wouldn’t even consider it’d been air bnb’d.

  3. Well it has got worse since then. Now there are constant parties outside in the streets with huge noisy event type sound systems blasting out several times a week. TDC and the Police absent as usual. It’s often mayhem down there!!

  4. Hello everyone! Thanks for your comments. Please do fill out the survey if you are a resident. It’d be really great to have your thoughts and insights on how Covid has impacted the Square.

    Just to be clear, this research is not associated with the previous project on the house in Dalby Square. The funding for this has come from the British Council, which you can read about here: and here



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