£1.9m social housing for site of Belfast’s former Oxo factory

The site of Belfast’s former Oxo factory is set to be transformed into a new social housing development in the east of the city in a £1.9m investment.

Monday, 18th November 2019, 11:01 am
Gareth Moore, H&J Martin; Michael McDonnell, Choice Housing; Stephen Davey, Clonrose Developments and Andrew Nixon of Choice Housing.

Clonrose Developments has announced that it has signed a development agreement with Choice Housing Ireland to deliver 18 new social housing units at 179-203 Beersbridge Road.

The site was occupied by the Oxo food company as a factory and stores during the inter-war years.

It will now be redeveloped to provide 18 general needs apartments.

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The development will comprise of nine two-bedroom apartments and nine one-bedroom apartments in two blocks as well as a landscaped garden, 18 private car parking spaces and bike shelter for 23 bicycles.

Clonrose Developments has appointed H&J Martin to deliver the construction of the development, which will be known as ‘The Oxo Factory’.

The project is scheduled for completion in May 2020.

Stephen Davey, development director for Clonrose Developments, said: “We are delighted to build upon our relationship with Choice Housing and follow on from our successful Ormeau Road development with a high-quality apartment scheme in the east of the city. Construction has commenced on site and we are scheduled to hand over the completed properties in May next year.”

Michael McDonnell, chief executive of Choice Housing, added: “East Belfast has faced a shortfall of social housing in recent years with a growing demand for quality social living in the area. This new development, which is an investment of £1.9m, will continue to regenerate east Belfast, which has ranked as one of Northern Ireland’s most disadvantaged areas. Our partnership with Clonrose Developments illustrates our commitment to investing in the area and its community and we hope this partnership will extend beyond east Belfast in the future.

“This project is one of many developments Choice has invested in the east Belfast area in recent years, particularly Beersbridge Road. Alongside this new partnership with Clonrose Developments, we have invested around £5m in the Beersbridge area over the last number of years.”

The Beersbridge Road site was taken over by Oxo during World War II for the production and storage of Oxo stock cubes.

This food item was regarded as an important staple of many diets during the war years. Soldiers on the front line were given a single Oxo cube per week in their rationing tin.

The health benefits of the meat extract were also advertisedduring World War I when it was belieced to protect against flu.

It was said not only to “compensate for shortages of meat” but also to “fortify the system against influenze infection”.

A cupful two or three times a day was said to provide “protective measures”, hailed for its “invigorating and nourishing” properties as it “increased nutrition and maintained vitality of the system”.

‘The Oxo Factory’ is the latest social housing scheme to be announced for east Belfast.

In September, Alpha Housing and Dunrich Properties launched a £2.2m construction project to deliver 14 new homes for independent older residents.

This development is being enabled with £1.4m in a Department for Communities’ (DfC) grant through the Housing Executive, with the balance of funding provided by the Alpha Housing association.

This scheme is expected to be completed by December 2020.

Radius Housing has announced a new £105m investment from a range of UK and North American investors.

This is the first such investment, known as a private placement, to be secured by a Northern Ireland housing association and Radius says that it will play a significant role in its plans to build new social and affordable housing across Northern Ireland.