Belfast Telegraph

Ambitious plan for 800 new homes in north west tipped for approval

South Bank Square’s Seamus Gillan is behind the plans for Ballyoan
South Bank Square’s Seamus Gillan is behind the plans for Ballyoan
The scheme’s proposed location beside Crescent Link in Londonderry
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

The north west of Northern Ireland is to get its biggest ever housing development in a £100m investment to build 800 new homes.

The plan by South Bank Square Ltd at Ballyoan, beside Crescent Link in Londonderry, is expected to bring 90 jobs in construction.

And the project is tipped to be approved by Derry City and Strabane District Council in a meeting next week.

The outline planning application recommended for approval by council planning officers comprises detached and semi-detached homes, as well as townhouses and apartments.

Councillors are expected to rubber-stamp the plans at a special meeting of the planning committee next Monday.

According to the developer, the construction of the homes will create and sustain employment for 90 full-time staff over the 10 years it's expected to take to complete the project.

It's the latest mammoth housing project in Northern Ireland, and follows Hagan Homes' plans for 900 houses at Enler Village in Comber.

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Seamus Gillan, the owner of South Bank Square Ltd, said: "We are delighted to have received a recommendation for approval from the city planners.

"This is a unique site and a significant development for the Derry city region that will deliver much-needed quality family homes in a neighbourhood environment.

"We very much welcome the support we have received from the council, local community [and] elected representatives, and the significant progress that has been made to bring forward our development plans to this stage."

He said that if approval is secured, proposals for phase one of the site will be put forward, with the company hoping to get detailed planning permission to start development straight away.

As well as the new homes, the plan also includes play and recreation areas and some commercial space.

Mr Gillan added: "Throughout the process we have enjoyed very constructive and positive feedback from the council planners, statutory consultees, elected representatives and local residents.

"We very much welcome this support and we look forward to this new development being our first major investment in the city."

As well as his housebuilding, Mr Gillan is also known as director of BSG Civil Engineering Ltd. The Maghera-based business is a major contractor for Northern Ireland Water.

In its latest accounts for 2017, BSG reported turnover of £29.3m and pre-tax profits of £2.9m.

Brian Kelly, a director of Turley - the planner for South Bank Square - said: "In recent years there have been few developments with the ability to develop housing of this scale and investment, and if approved this will be a welcome boost for the north west economy and for home-buyers seeking quality family homes in the city.

"We are grateful for the effort from council planners and statutory agencies."

Belfast Telegraph

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