It’s moving day for several Belfast families with the completion of the first new homes at Radius Housing’s Blacks Gate development.
Located off the Blacks Road, the 17 houses are the first of 244 new properties being constructed on the site of the former Visteon factory.
Alongside the 244 homes, the development also includes community and workspace facilities, all set within extensive landscaped and open space on the former factory estate.
Radius Housing secured planning permission in 2018, and, following remedial works, construction of the new homes commenced the following June.
Ten social and seven private homes were handed over on Thursday and Radius is planning further handovers in the coming weeks, with the overall project expected to be completed late next year.
Blacks Gate is one of the largest mixed tenure developments in Northern Ireland, where 48 affordable, private sale homes are constructed alongside 196 social properties.
Mother-of-three Caroline Grogan was one of the first to move in earlier today.
She said: “After a tough year, moving in to this new home today is like winning the lottery.
“I spent a number of years in private rented accommodation and then had a temporary stay at my mum’s home, which turned into months.
“This is a new beginning for me and my three sons. I grew up nearby, so I know the area well and I know it’s a great place to live.
“The house is wonderful, it’s the perfect place for my family and I’m so thankful to Radius for their support.”
The first new homeowner at Radius Housing’s Blacks Gate development, Sinead Campbell and Daniel McNeill, get their keys from Anita Conway and Kelly Kitchen.
Radius Housing Chief Executive John McLean said Blacks Gate has been one of the most ambitious development projects undertaken.
Mr McLean said: “We saw the huge opportunity this site could bring, not just for housing, but also for community space and revitalising an important swathe of land on what is a gateway to Belfast.
“Despite the many challenges faced over the last number of months the project is on course and will make a huge difference in the lives of the new residents of Blacks Gate.
“As a mixed tenure development, with social and affordable private homes built to the highest quality, Blacks Gate will set the standard for new projects in Belfast and across Northern Ireland.
“We hope that the first 17 families who are moving in today enjoy these beautiful new homes.”
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey added: “My priority is to build more homes, where they are needed. This £14.3million investment will help address housing need.
“This is an area of high housing need and 196 social homes alongside 48 affordable homes will make a huge difference to the daily lives of many.
“We will continue to encourage housing associations to identify and acquire more suitable development sites in the area.”
The £30million scheme has been supported by £14.3million Housing Association Grant funding from the Department for Communities and more than £16million private finance investment by Radius.
The main contractor on the site is Kevin Watson Group and more than 300 construction jobs have been supported through the development, including a significant number of apprenticeships.
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