Move to refurbish social housing stock

On the transfer list: Woodland House and Beechwood House flats in Rushpark. Pic by Ronnie Moore
On the transfer list: Woodland House and Beechwood House flats in Rushpark. Pic by Ronnie Moore
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The Department for Social Development has launched a new improvement programme that could see the refurbishment of hundreds of social homes across Newtownabbey over the next three years.

The Stock Transfer Programme, which is part of the DSD’s ‘Facing the Future’ housing strategy, will take place in three phases beginning in September 2013 through to September 2014. A key part of the programme will be consultation with tenants over the coming months.

The programme, which will involve the transfer of properties to Housing Associations, will be overseen by the Housing Executive and will take place in a number of phases. The first phase, which could include the transfer of 72 units at Monkscoole House, Rathcoole, 112 units at Woodland House and Beechwood House, Rushpark and 136 units in the Grange estate in Ballyclare, is scheduled to start in September 2013.

Other properties in the Newtownabbey area - 116 units at Carncoole House and Abbotscoole House in Rathcoole, and 78 ‘aluminium bungalows’ in Whiteabbey and Ballyclare - are included in plans for phase three, which is due to start in September 2014.

“Since I took up this role, ensuring that the social housing stock throughout Northern Ireland is maintained to a good standard has been a priority. This programme will see homes that require multi-element improvements get those improvements much more quickly,” said Housing Minister Nelson McCausland.

“Raising the standard of some of our poorest quality housing stock and providing tenants with high quality and decent modern homes that are fit for purpose is in my view essential. I do however want to reassure tenants that ensuring rent levels remain affordable is central to this programme and my plans for the future of social housing in Northern Ireland.”

The DUP MLA, who earlier this week was forced to defend himself at Stormont amid claims of political interference in the running of the Housing Executive, added: “The Stock Transfer Programme will be a big task but it is a task that, once all necessary approvals and consent have been secured, will provide the tenants concerned with a means to getting the much needed improvements their homes require and a modern, decent home for the future.”

The Housing Executive said it has written to all tenants involved to update them on the proposed programme.

The full listing of the proposed schemes for phases one, two and three are available to view online at www.nihe.gov.uk/stock_transfer