Work begins on ‘social housing’ at former barracks in Ballymena

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Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has announced that 47 homes at the former St Patrick’s Barracks in Ballymena are to be refurbished as part of a £3.8million social and affordable housing scheme.

The 47 Ministry of Defence (MOD) married quarters will be refurbished by Fold Housing Association and will be ready for new residents to move into in late 2013.

Visiting the site to mark the transfer to Fold Housing Association, Minister McCausland said: “This is another example of empty homes in an area of high housing need being acquired to provide social and affordable housing.

“Innovative thinking in the funding of new social housing and making public funding work harder to increase supply feature heavily in my new Housing Strategy.

“The fact that we are here today on the site of a former Ministry of Defence facility is proof that we are doing just that. This housing, a legacy of our troubled past, will be refurbished and converted to provide much needed social and affordable housing for Ballymena.

“Fold Housing is to be congratulated for taking up the challenge to purchase and refurbish these properties in an area that continues to have a high housing need.”

John McLean, Chief Executive of Fold Housing said: “Fold is delighted to commence work on the refurbishment of 47 much needed family homes in Ballymena. The eagerly awaited homes are due to be completed and ready for occupation in late 2013. We look forward to working with the local community and the Northern Ireland Housing Executive on the regeneration of the former St Patrick’s Barracks site.”

Fold Housing is one of Northern Ireland’s leading housing associations with some 4,872 homes for rent.

The housing mix on the site comprises 16 x 3 person 2 bedroom houses; 27 x 4 person 3 bedroom houses and 4 x 5 person 4 bedroom houses.

The refurbishment scheme is expected to cost £3.8 million, including land, construction costs and associated costs. The Department for Social Development is funding just over £1 million through the Housing Executive, with £2.7 million funded by Fold Housing through private financing.

Fold has also submitted a planning application for 10 new build units within the site, these are due to commence early 2014 and complete early 2015. In total Fold will be providing 57 new homes in the area.

Construction is being undertaken by Connolly and Fee Ltd, Dungannon.