Construction work on nine new homes in Randalstown has begun in Rural Housing Association’s latest development project. The start of construction was marked with a visit to the site by the Mayor of Antrim & Newtownabbey, Cllr Billy Webb, along with MLAs and local Councillors. The £1.8m investment, which will see nine apartments built on Main Street in Randalstown, is part funded through the Department for Communities and Dankse Bank.
Rural Housing Association was formed in 1992, and manages more than 520 homes, dispersed right across Northern Ireland. Their aim is provide accommodation for rural people in rural areas, with a view to helping maintain and regenerate rural communities.
The nine apartments in Randalstown are 3 person, 2 bed apartments, which have been designed by GM Design Associates. The design reflects the principles of Rural Housing Association’s Rural Design Guide for Social Housing, through the inclusion of design features which capture the rural character of the surrounding area, including references to the old bakery which inspired the front facing elevations for the scheme.
The development will also utilise ground source heat pump technology, a leading environmentally friendly heating system, which will make the new homes more sustainable. Construction of the new homes is being led by Bell Contracts, and it is hoped that the homes will be completed by Autumn 2022.
Speaking at the site, Stephen Fisher, Chief Executive of Rural Housing Association, said “We are delighted to see the work begin on these new homes in Randalstown. The concept and design of the apartments ensures the apartments will be sympathetic to the surrounding environment and reflect the heritage of the village. We are confident that the final homes will not only enhance the local area, but will bring an important element of environmental sustainability.
“New social housing in rural areas is an important part of ensuring that these communities are strong and vibrant, as well as playing a role in addressing housing waiting lists, and this is a central to the vision of Rural Housing Association. We are grateful to GM Design Associates for their work on this and on the Rural Design Guide for Social Housing, which sets the high standard for rural homes.”
Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “Delivering more homes where they are needed is a priority for me and that includes for our rural communities. I welcome the start of these nine new social homes in Randalstown, which have received substantial investment from my Department. I am also pleased to see that the homes will be installed with an innovative and environmentally friendly heating system which will provide comfortable and sustainable living for years to come.”
The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb added: “I was delighted to visit the site in Randalstown and see the beginning of the construction work and also hear more about the concept and design of these new homes. As part of our Community Plan, we are committed to ensuring our rural communities are vibrant and sustainable and this investment will ensure more people have access to affordable rural housing.
“At a time where fuel poverty is a growing concern in Northern Ireland, it’s great to see the use of sustainable and cost effective heating technology within the housing development. I look forward to seeing the final homes when they are complete.”