Belfast Telegraph

40 homes for site of former Northern Ireland restaurant as ‘ghost estate’ brought back to life

By Margaret Canning

Northern Ireland housebuilder Hagan Homes is to build 40 dwellings in a £5m project on the site of a former restaurant in Co Londonderry.

The Ballyclare company has taken over the development of housing at the Salmon Leap, off Castleroe Road in Coleraine, in a move creating 50 construction jobs.

Work is being carried out by subcontractor Nollam Contracts Ltd, based in Eglinton.

The Salmon Leap was best known as a bar and restaurant. But the venue closed down in 2006.

The land was to be turned into housing by Pat Devine Homes, but that company stopped work on the site in the property crash, resulting in a so-called ghost estate.

Around 14 homes are half-built, with Hagan planning to complete them and build another 26.

Earlier this year Hagan Homes finished work on 24 properties at Scotch Quarter in Carrickfergus, another site abandoned by its original developer during the downturn. Hagan Homes then sold the dwellings to Habinteg Housing Association.

Phase one of the Salmon Leap is to be finished this month, with prices starting from just under £100,000. The units will range from two-bed apartments to five-bed detached houses.

Jamesy Hagan, managing director of Hagan Homes, said: "The previous owners of the Salmon Leap site in Coleraine had started construction several years ago, but unfortunately had to suspend all development due to the property crash. As a result there were 45 fully completed homes and 14 partially completed units in place when we acquired the site.

"We are now completing those 14 homes and starting construction of an additional 26."

He said there was strong demand for good quality, affordable homes.

The announcement follows news of plans by Co Derry company Braidwater to build more than 400 houses in the city over the next three years.

Braidwater is building 219 homes at Birch Hill, off Belt Road, and another 200 at Skeoge in the north of the city.

All the units will be private housing, the company has said.

Braidwater said suppliers in the area would provide the materials for the two projects and that around 30 sub-contractors would be employed during building.

Work on the sites is to be finished by 2020 and Braidwater said it represents just one-fifth of the £300m it plans to spend on long-term projects in the north west.

John Armstrong, managing director of the Construction Employers Federation, hailed the news as a boost to housing in Derry.

He said a surge in housebuilding over the last few years had been largely enjoyed by the east of the province, adding that housebuilders were now building in greater numbers. "Up until now, the numbers of housebuilders building more than 100 new homes a year has been falling dramatically, but now we are seeing a welcome increase in companies who are building large numbers of units of housing."

Belfast Telegraph

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