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Antrim housing scheme to create 50 jobs but sector is still facing 'challenges'

By John Mulgrew

Around 50 construction jobs are to be created with a new £9.5m housing development in Co Antrim. Hagan Homes is to build 78 new houses in Ballyclare at a site on the Fairview Farm Road, with the entire scheme due to take around four years to complete.

The housing development will include two-bedroom apartments, three-bed townhouses and three-bed semi-detached homes.

The main contractor for the project is JCL Contracts.

But there remain "a number of challenges to the local home building sector", according to Hagan Homes managing director Jamesy Hagan.

"We are thrilled to announce our plans for the new Fairview Farm development in our home town of Ballyclare," he said.

"The demand for superior homes in Northern Ireland, which offer value for money, is high and Fairview Farm Road offers residents the opportunity to live in modern, new build two-bedroom apartments, three-bedroom semi-detached and townhouse homes in the conveniently located market town of Ballyclare, amidst the picturesque Co Antrim countryside.

"It also has the bonus of being a commuter's paradise, with easy access to Belfast city centre just 13 miles away via a recently updated dual carriageway and motorway network."

Mr Hagan said the company's aim is "to build affordable, quality, stylish homes and achieve this by appointing award-winning architects, interior designers and craftspeople".

Speaking about challenges facing the industry here, he said: "These (challenges) revolve around the delay caused by the planning system in Northern Ireland, which to date has not been improved by the transfer of powers to the local councils.

"One of the main issues is the length of time that statutory consultees such as the NI Environment Agency, Transport NI and Rivers Agency are taking to respond to planning applications."

Mr Hagan said that there were also high costs involved with "sewer bonds".

Hagan Homes almost doubled sales to £16.7m as it caters for a surge in demand for new-build homes in Northern Ireland, according to its latest results.

The family company's pre-tax profits more than doubled to £2.14m from £454,663.

Its work includes developments such as Scotch Square in Carrickfergus and Henryville in Ballyclare.

In the 2015/16 financial year, annual house completions were up 65% to 191, compared with 115 in 2015.

It was the company's second-busiest year for house completions since it was set up.

Back in March, Hagan Homes announced that it would be building 40 new homes in Co Antrim as part of a £4.5m development.

The company is building a series of 38 townhouses, detached and semi-detached homes on the Darby Road in Carrickfergus, and is working with contractor Eden Contractors on the new scheme.

The firm said the first stage of the scheme will be finished by spring next year, with homes starting at around £115,000.

And in February, the firm announced 35 new homes in Dunmurry, Co Antrim, in a £4.5m development.

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