£8.5m social housing boost for Ballymena

(L-R) North Antrim MLA Paul Frew with Michael McDonnell, group chief executive of Choice Housing and Councillor Reuben Glover at the official opening of the first phase of the �8.5million Larne Road development.
(L-R) North Antrim MLA Paul Frew with Michael McDonnell, group chief executive of Choice Housing and Councillor Reuben Glover at the official opening of the first phase of the �8.5million Larne Road development.

Residents are expected to be in their homes by the end of this month following the official opening of phase one of a £8.5million development at Ballymena’s Larne Road.

Local representatives joined Choice Housing on Monday for the unveiling of the first stage of the much-anticipated social housing scheme.

Designed by Knox & Clayton Architects, the project on the former site of St Mary’s Primary School will provide 74 new homes that will accommodate 238 people and incorporate the latest energy saving, design and security features..

Funded by an investment of £4.4million from the Department for Communities, with a further £4.1million provided by Choice Housing Association through private finance, the development is a mix of two and three bedroom homes and two bedroom apartments including one ground floor wheelchair accessible apartment.

Michael McDonnell, group chief executive of Choice Housing, said: “This important project will bring 74 high quality new homes for families of varying sizes in Ballymena. It is good news, particularly for those who are on the waiting list, and will help bring a new vibrancy to the Larne Road area.

“We have been pleased to see the support for the development in the local area, one that is in need of housing that is flexible and accommodating to a wide range of families and their unique circumstances.”

Welcoming the investment, North Antrim DUP MLA Paul Frew said: “This is an exciting time for Ballymena and Harryville in particular with much needed brand new, state of the art, modern housing. This development will bring much relief to many of my constituents who have been on the waiting list for a long time.

“I am glad that I have been able to support Choice Housing Association throughout this project from planning and design stage right up to now, the official opening, and the delivery of the first phase of homes.”

Echoing these sentiments his party colleague Cllr Reuben Glover said: “This is brilliant news for the people of Ballymena who have been crying out for new homes for so long now. There has been a massive need in Harryville and it’s great to see this development progress through the various stages.

“People have been talking about the derelict site before the construction and the vibrancy that this will bring to the community. I know many who will benefit from these new homes and the positive effect on the waiting list.”

Choice Housing works with the NI Housing Executive, targeting vacancies to those applicants registered on the waiting list. Phase one of the new development has been allocated and residents are expected to be into their new homes by the end of April. It is anticipated that phase 2 and 3 will be allocated in summer 2018. A number of apartments at the scheme are available for people aged 55 or over. To find out more visit choice-housing.org or call 0300 111 2211.