THE chairman of the Monkstown Community Association has called on the Housing Minister to build more homes in the estate.
David McCrea said vacant sites under Housing Executive ownership in the estate would help ease housing waiting lists if social homes were build on them.
He made the appeal after Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland welcomed tenants into a new £1.1million social housing development in Ards Drive.
Mr McCrea said: “This mix of house sizes reflects the growing need for smaller homes which I think will grow rapidly especially if the bedroom tax is introduced into Northern Ireland.
“It is important that the Department of Social Development recognise the need to build more of these houses in the Monkstown area where there are several sites currently held by the Housing Executive which, if used for social housing schemes, would go a long way to meet the changing needs of residents in this part of Newtownabbey.”
The new £1.1million development of 12 family homes at Ards Drive has been developed by Connswater Homes with part funding from the Northern Ireland Executive and all homes have been allocated to families from the social housing waiting list.
The two and three bedroom houses, built on vacant ground within the existing estate, have been built to the latest high energy efficiency standards including Secured by Design and Lifetime Homes accreditation which builds in added security and flexibility of adaptation if required at a later date.
After viewing the new houses and speaking to residents, Minister McCausland said: “The delivery of decent, affordable, sustainable housing is a key priority for my department.
“This scheme provides that and Connswater Homes is to be congratulated for putting together such an impressive development.
“These new homes are a welcome addition in an area that continues to have a high housing need. These new modern houses developed in partnership with local people, will make a huge difference to the daily lives of all who live here. I wish all the tenants well in their new homes.”
Jacqueline Locke, chief executive of Connswater Homes said: “We are delighted that this project has completed ahead of schedule and congratulates the design team and contractor for their professionalism in delivering high quality homes.
“The association worked closely with the local community, elected representatives, the Department for Social Development and the Housing Executive to bring about much needed new social housing to the Monkstown area. We look forward to continuing to work in partnership to ensure the provision of more housing in the future.”
Councillor Ken Robinson, who during his time as an MLA for the area made a vigorous case for this new build provision with the previous Social Development Ministers.
He said: “I am particularly pleased to see the new tenants moving in to these modern homes and I will continue to press for further housing schemes for Monkstown.
“I would again congratulate Connswater Homes on their commitment to these developments and Dixons the contractors on this second phase of high quality housing and on the first phase at Monkstown Gardens.
“They have set a high standard of finish both internally and externally which I trust the new tenants can enjoy in the years to come.”
South Antrim MLA Alastair Ross also welcomed the development, he added: “I am delighted that the Minister came to see for himself the new houses that will provide some coverage of housing need.
“Together with local community representative David McCrea, local councillor Ken Robinson and local MP Sammy Wilson, I have been working over the last number of years to improve housing in Monkstown and also increase the number of dwellings.
“We all recognise that increasing the population here will benefit local shops, services and schools and maintain Monkstown as a viable, vibrant community.
“Today is another step on the journey to increase housing within Monkstown. 125 applicants last year placed the area as their first preference, which shows how well regarded the estate is.
“These applications were from small families, single people and the elderly. We have identified potential sites in the estate and have asked the minister to give this his consideration.
“Working together, all the representatives in this part of the constituency will continue to press the Housing Executive and the department to increase the number of units.”