The official opening of a £3.2 million housing scheme has taken place in Bangor.
North Down MP, Lady Sylvia Hermon, attended the opening of the McQuillon Lodge development by Helm Housing on the Donaghadee Road.
Catering specifically for active elderly people, the brand new state-of-the-art development comprises of 20 three-person, two-bedroom apartments.
Helm Housing has also just completed an additional 11 three-person, two-bedroomed apartments in nearby Summerhill Lodge, which is also on the Donaghadee Road.
Helm Housing said the developments are aimed at easing housing stress for elderly people in the area.
“Our aim is to meet the housing need in this area and provide quality accommodation that people will enjoy living in and feel secure in their environment,” said Aideen D’Arcy, director of development at Helm Housing.
“McQuillan Lodge is close to local shopping centres and a wide range of amenities. There are also convenient bus routes and taxi services available.
“We have looked carefully at the surrounding area and have chosen the design, scale and materials of this scheme to sit sympathetically alongside.”
Helm Housing has worked closely with the Housing Executive and North Down Borough Council in developing the new schemes.
“The grounds around the buildings have been landscaped to provide an attractive and secure environment for the elderly people who live there — as well as to enhance the local area,” said Miss D’Arcy.
“Indeed many tenants have also enhanced the communal landscaping with colourful planting adjacent to their patio areas of ground floor apartments.”
The association has included a Life Trail Wellness Station for use by the tenants to promote continued healthy living, added Ms D’Arcy.
Group chief executive of Helm Housing, Jean Fulton, said Mc Quillan Lodge was chosen for the name of this scheme to honour the memory of Mervyn McQuillan, one of the founding board members of BIH Housing Association, now Helm Housing.
“This is the first official opening since the organisation changed its name to Helm Housing, and it was considered fitting that this project should be the first to honour distinguished service and to mark the links with the past and to mark also the creation of a future by this new building,” she said
The apartments are built to a ‘Secured by Design' standard — meaning that door, window and lock specifications are much higher than usual — in order to deter burglars.
They also meet ‘Code for Sustainable Homes' criteria, where ecologically-friendly materials are used in construction, with low-energy output from lighting.
The Mc Quillan Lodge scheme is part of an investment of some £18m within the North Down area for older people currently being undertaken by Helm Housing.
The other schemes are located at Belfast Road, Crawfordsburn Road, Inglewood Park, Donaghadee Road, Bangor, Groomsport, and Shore Road, Holywood, providing a total of 113 apartments.
In Bangor district, older people and single people are the largest groups on the housing waiting list.
At the end of 2007, 280 older people in the area were considered to be in ‘housing stress.’