Northern Ireland council overturns planners' verdict and backs £45m retirement village
Northern Ireland's first retirement village can go ahead in Carrickfergus, the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council planning committee has said.
And three major applications to redevelop the former St Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena have also been given the go-ahead.
Councillors on the Co Antrim local authority overturned a recommendation by planning officials to refuse the £45m retirement village, which Kilmona Properties said will create 300 jobs during the construction phase.
The firm is headed by high-profile Belfast developer Paddy Kearney. Set on a 42 acre site on the Belfast Road, the plans include 321 new residential units, a medical centre, nursing home, spa, wellbeing centre and retail units.
The residential units will be split between housing and apartments, with part of the site developed into parkland which will incorporate walking trails.
Kilmona said up to 100 permanent jobs could be created.
Alan Mains, project manager at Kilmona, said: "A successful public consultation process was carried out in September 2017 which showed that the demand for a development of this type in this location was high.
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"Through working alongside elected representatives, stakeholders and members of the public we are glad to be able to bring forward a successful planning application to start the process to revitalise a site which has been badly in need of regeneration for some time.
"A retirement village of this scale is a first for Northern Ireland and we can see in other parts of the world how they have proven extremely successful and have added life to the towns in which they are located."
Meanwhile, the three Department for Communities (DfC) applications passed yesterday, marking a major milestone in the redevelopment of the former St Patrick's Barracks in Ballymena.
The regeneration initiative, involving a number of statutory agencies, includes 140 new homes, a £30m leisure and health centre, and a new road network on the former MoD site.
Paul Carr from DfC said the housing-led regeneration scheme will be fully incorporated into Balllymena's town centre by the new link roads.
"This is an important step and represents the achievement of a major milestone in the regeneration of this site," he said.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is also planning a new integrated innovation campus on the site.
Council chief executive Anne Donaghy said: "The plans for the St Patrick's Barracks site set out a hugely exciting future for the town."