Executive investing £16m in local housing stock

OakleeTrinity is planning to build more than 40 apartments on the site of the old Woodsides department store in Ballyclare town centre.
OakleeTrinity is planning to build more than 40 apartments on the site of the old Woodsides department store in Ballyclare town centre.

The Housing Executive has confirmed that it will invest over £16million in the Antrim and Newtownabbey area during the 2015/16 financial year.

Details of the investment were revealed during a meeting between NIHE officials and local councillors last Monday night.

More than £9million will be spent on planned and response maintenance, just under £2million on capital improvement works and nearly £3m on housing support services.

More than 460 homes in Whiteabbey, Rathcoole, Mossley, Mallusk and Queens Park will benefit from external cyclical maintenance this year, while 188 properties in Whiteabbey and Ballyclare will receive new kitchens.

New heating systems will be installed in 190 homes across the Newtownabbey 1 and 2 areas, while 400 properties will receive smoke alarm replacements.

There will also be investment in new build schemes, though the exact figure has yet to be finalised and will be in addition to the £16million investment already announced.

Working with housing associations, a number of new build schemes are planned for 2015/16 including 42 units at The Square, Ballyclare and 30 in Rathcoole. Other new builds are programmed for Ballynure, New Mossley and Monkstown between 2016 and 2018.

Presenting the Housing Investment Plan (HIP), which replaced the District Housing Plan of previous years, Siobhan McCauley, the Housing Executive’s Director of Regional Services, said: “The Housing Executive works hard to maintain a good working relationship with councils and it is important this continues.

“Our Housing Investment Plan has been informed by a range of stakeholders and was developed as a comprehensive conversation piece for the whole housing sector in Northern Ireland. 

“As the strategic housing authority for Northern Ireland we have prepared this plan to inform the community planning partnership on the state of the housing market, on housing needs, the policy priorities and public sector investment proposals for 2015-19. 

“There is a lot of work that needs to be done to meet housing need, improve housing stock and provide support for the most vulnerable in our community. We at the Housing Executive will continue to play our part to ensure this work is delivered efficiently, effectively and judiciously.”

After the presentation, Sharon Crooks, Area Manager for South Antrim, commented: “Our teams in Rathcoole, New Mossley and Antrim town provide a high quality dedicated housing service to the Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council area. 

“They work alongside our Customer Services Unit, Accounts and Housing Benefit teams to provide our tenants and the wider community with an effective and efficient service.

“Last year we made a substantial financial investment in Antrim and Newtownabbey along with a contribution which cannot be measured in such terms but makes a significant impact on the local community. 

“I would like to extend my thanks to the councillors and officers of the council for their support to the Housing Executive. We look forward to continuing to work with them on matters of mutual interest in the coming year.”