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Land for 1,800 Antrim homes goes on market: Huge Ballyclare site reportedly bought for £55m now up for grabs again

Exclusive by John Mulgrew

Published 25/08/2015

The 165-acre Ballyclare site that is that is on the market
The 165-acre Ballyclare site that is that is on the market
The DUP’s Paul Girvan

One of the biggest residential land portfolios to go on the market here in the past decade - which could play host to 1,800 homes - is now up for grabs.

The huge 165-acre site just outside Ballyclare in Co Antrim - which was reportedly bought for £55m - is now on the market for formal tender.

The site currently has outline planning permission for 1,800 residential properties. It is understood it was formerly owned by KPL Contracts, run by Kevin Lynch.

The Dungiven firm went into administration last year with the loss of more than 200 jobs.

It is understood the massive tranche of land is being sold by West Register, the firm set up by Ulster Bank's parent company RBS to manage its distressed property assets following the financial crisis.

The land has been put on the market by property firm Simon Brien.

Mr Brien told the Belfast Telegraph in terms of volume, it was "one of the biggest" residential land sales in the past 10 years.

"It's one of the biggest tranches of residential development, and there is outline planning for 1,800 homes," he said.

He said with an upturn in the property market he expected to see a lot of interest from property developers in both Northern Ireland, the rest of the UK and the Republic.

"There are quite a lot of house-builders looking for big land," he said.

"There is particular strong demand for new housing.

"From 2007 to 2013 there was so little new-build. Now people want to trade up, and schemes in the last six to nine months have gone well."

Around 60 homes have already been built on the site, with full planning permission at either end of the site for 123 buildings.

"It is well-suited to housing, and most of the interest would be residential," Mr Brien said.

"In terms of potential volumes, it would be one of the biggest in the last 10 years."

The initial proposed development was also set to include a relief road, linking the Templepatrick Road to the Rashee Road - built by private developers to accommodate what would be a significant increase in traffic.

It is something those living in the area would expect to see being constructed if a developer were to take up the mantle of building hundreds of new homes on the site, according to DUP MLA Paul Girvan.

"It's something as a public representative that I would push for," he said.

"Without the road I would be, along with the wider community, opposed to future development until it is in place.

"That may be something potential investors would have to consider."

"And there has to be ongoing discussion with the Roads Service to deliver access to the town."

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