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£38m boost for housing in North Belfast

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Social Development Minister Margaret Ritchie recently announced plans to invest £38 million for brand new homes in North Belfast.

The huge investment will mean that much of the old and inadequate housing will be demolished to make way for new, modern family homes in the Upper Long Streets, Parkside and Queen Victoria Gardens areas.

The huge investment will mean that much of the old and inadequate housing will be demolished to make way for new, modern family homes in the Upper Long Streets, Parkside and Queen Victoria Gardens areas.

Margaret Ritchie said: “I have visited each of these areas and seen at first hand the poor housing people were living in. I made a promise to the residents in each community I visited that they would not be forgotten, and I am pleased that in my last days as Minister, I can now make good that promise.”

A total of 276 old terraced homes will be demolished in North Belfast, under full consultation with the local community.

Minister Ritchie added: “I made it clear when I launched the New Housing Agenda that I wanted to increase both the quantity and quality of our housing. When I launched the redevelopment of the Village I said North Belfast was the next priority. North Belfast is an area of high housing need and this investment will make a significant difference to the lives of so many people living in these communities.”

The Housing Executive will now begin consultation with each of the local communities to discuss and agree an implementation plan for each area. Whilst this work will be phased in over the coming years, Minister Ritchie has provided the funding to start work on the new homes immediately.

Minister Ritchie continued: “I have ring fenced the necessary funding to ensure that work in each area can start at once. There have been enough false dawns for these residents and I was determined that our approval for these proposals had to be backed up with the resources necessary to see them through.

“Despite financial pressures, we are delivering on all aspects of the New Housing Agenda.”

When completed, a total of £38m will have been invested across this part of the city alone to improve housing. Taken alongside separate plans for additional development on Girdwood and Parkside, this represents good news for those in housing need across North Belfast.

In Upper New Lodge (Long Streets) the proposals are to demolish 185 properties and put back 98 new homes on their footprint. In addition, a total of 33 Housing Executive and private properties at New Lodge Road, Duncairn Gardens and Edlingham Street will be improved. Other streets affected by demolition will be parts of New Lodge Road, Stratheden Street, Spamount Street, Upper Meadow Street and Hillman Street. Part of the plan will involve the construction of 46 overspill houses on the nearby Girdwood site for decanting purposes. Total cost is estimated at £26.5 million. The cost of acquisition, clearance and improvement is estimated at £10.9 million whilst the provision of the 144 new homes is estimated at £15.6 million.

In Parkside the proposals are to demolish 44 properties and replace them with 28 new homes. Streets affected by demolition will be Parkend Street, Clanchattan Street and Limestone Road. Total cost is estimated at £6.4 million. Acquisition and clearance is estimated at £2.8 million. New build is estimated at cost £3.6 million. Newington Housing Association is working alongside these plans to deliver several other schemes which will complement this regeneration but not covered by this announcement today.

In Queen Victoria Gardens the proposals are to demolish 47 properties and replace them with 21 new build social properties. Streets affected by demolition will be Queen Victoria Gardens and parts of Fortwilliam Parade. Total cost is estimated at £5.0 million. Acquisition and clearance is estimated at £3.0 million. New build is estimated at £2.0 million.

The Housing Executive will have lead responsibility for all operational aspects of the regeneration activity and in the next few weeks will be preparing detailed information about proposals and setting up arrangements for consultation with local communities.

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