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Derry 'ghost estate' thrown a lifeline

 

By Margaret Canning

A 'ghost estate' in Londonderry is to be finished off by new owners five years after its original builders went into administration.

Residents of Copperthorpe on Fincairn Road had complained over issues such as broken street lights and uneven footpaths on the development. The first residents moved in around 2004. Builder DAB Developments - previously known as Brookview - went into administration in 2012.

Now the site has been acquired by developer Braidwater, which has vowed to "transform" the renamed Ashbrook Court.

It will build another 35 semi-detached homes and townhouses, and is holding a launch event for potential buyers next month.

A spokeswoman said infrastructure on the site would now be updated to benefit all, including those who moved in during the development's first phase.

"For the final phase of the development, the infrastructure including road bonds and drainage have all been approved and clarified," she said.

"The work will be completed by Braidwater during this development phase to a very high standard and will improve the area for the new homes, unfinished homes and current homes."

Copperthorpe was one of a small number of ghost estates in Northern Ireland, along with Quoile Crescent in Downpatrick and Scotch Quarter in Carrickfergus. Ghost estates were housing developments started by builders in the mid-2000s but abandoned following the property crash of 2008 onwards, in many cases, leaving residents with limited infrastructure.

The problem was much more severe in the Republic.

Braidwater managing director Joe McGinnis said: "We took over the now renamed Ashbrook Court site in 2016 and sought to complete and improve upon the development so that it is a desirable place for everyone to live in. This includes the current residents, who were left with many unresolved issues and who we would like to thank for their patience and continued support."

He said Derry and Strabane mayor Hilary McClintock had also worked hard to improve the site's prospects.

"We are committed to ensuring the development as a whole is a safe environment for everyone," he added.

"We have worked with the statutory authorities to secure road bonds and correct the drainage problems which were causing massive issues for the residents."

The 35 new homes will be the start of other developments in the area, with the end goal of building 500 homes around the main Glenshane Road.

Ms McClintock said she was "delighted" by the progress.

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