Boost as major development schemes get planning go-ahead

A computer generated image of the Kilmona Properties retirement village approved for Carrickfergus
A computer generated image of the Kilmona Properties retirement village approved for Carrickfergus

Up to 140 homes and a £30 million leisure, health and wellbeing centre are part of plans for a major regeneration project to redevelop St Patrick’s Barracks, Ballymena, given the green light by planners.

Approval for the multi-million, mixed use scheme is one of two significant decisions taken by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council planning committee which has also approved plans for a ground-breaking retirement village proposed for Carrickfergus.

In Ballymena, the Department for Communities (DfC) submitted three planning applications comprising one outline application for the creation of a flagship, shared, mixed use, housing-led regeneration scheme and two full planning applications for the proposed Northern and Southern Link Roads.

The regeneration of the site is being led by DfC, working with the Council and other stakeholders and statutory agencies.

“The Department is delighted to have obtained planning approval for the St. Patrick’s Barracks site,” said Paul Carr from DfC.

“This is an important step and represents the achievement of a major milestone in the regeneration of this site.

“As well as approving the site as a shared, mixed use, housing-led regeneration scheme, the approved Northern and Southern Link Roads will allow the site to be fully incorporated into the existing Ballymena town centre offering.”

Mid and East Antrim also has plans to locate an ‘Integrated Industrial Inspiration and Innovation Campus’ on the site to provide local people with the skills to compete on a global stage as digital innovators and entrepreneurs.

“The plans for the St Patrick’s Barracks site set out a hugely exciting future for the town,” said Council CEO Anne Donaghy.

“It is great to reach this milestone and move one step closer to the exciting plans becoming a reality.”

At Carrickfergus, the approval for what is described as Northern Ireland’s first dedicated retirement village paves the way for more than 320 residential units, a medical centre, a nursing home, a spa/wellbeing centre and neighbourhood retail.

A total of 42 acres of the site will also be developed into parkland which will incorporate walking trails open to all.

The developer, Kilmona Properties estimates that the cost of developing the site will be £45 million and will create 300 jobs through the construction phase and sustain a further 100 jobs when completed.

“A retirement village of this scale is a first for Northern Ireland and we can see in other parts of the world how they have proven extremely successful and have added life to the towns in which they are located,” said Kilmona project manager Alan Mains.