It’s moving day for 17 families as the first new homes at Radius Housing’s Blacks Gate development are completed. Located off the Blacks roads in Belfast, the 17 houses are the first of 244 new homes being constructed on the site of the former Visteon factory – one of the largest mixed tenure housing developments in Northern Ireland.
Alongside the 244 homes, the development also includes community and workspace facilities, all set within extensive newly landscaped and open space on the former factory site. Radius secured planning permission in 2018, and, following remedial works, construction of the new homes commenced in June 2019.
The homes being handed over today are 10 social homes and seven private homes, and Radius is planning further handovers in the coming weeks, with the overall project expected to be completed by late 2022. The £30 million scheme has been supported by £14.3 million Housing Association Grant funding from the Department for Communities and over £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.
Radius Housing is one of the leading housing developers in Northern Ireland, constructing 400 new homes each year, and managing more than 13,000 social homes. Blacks Gate is the latest mixed tenure development by Radius Housing, where 48 affordable, private sale homes are constructed alongside 196 social homes.
Speaking as the first new tenants and homeowners moved into Blacks Gate, John McLean, Chief Executive of Radius Housing, said “We are delighted that the first homes in Blacks Gate are being handed over today. This has been one of the most ambitious development projects we have undertaken. 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 housing projects in Belfast and across Northern Ireland. Radius’ development team, working with Kevin Watson Group, have delivered to the highest standard and we are delighted with the first completed homes. We hope that the first 17 families who are moving in today enjoy these beautiful new homes.”
Communities Minister, Deirdre Hargey, has also welcomed this development saying “I would also like to welcome the families to their homes and hope they enjoy them for many years to come. My priority is to build more homes, where they are needed. This £14.3m 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.”
One of the first tenants to move in was Caroline Grogan, who 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.”