There were celebrations today in North Queen Street and the New Lodge as Newington Housing Association officially opened two new social housing developments.
Louise Warde-Hunter, Deputy Secretary of Housing, Urban Regeneration and Local Government at the Department for Communities officiated at the openings. The £13.9m projects were delivered by Newington Housing Association in partnership with Apex Housing Association, with £7.37m funding through Housing Association Grant and the remaining £6.53m through private finance sourced by Newington.
At North Queen Street, a former police station has made way for 26 homes, built at a cost of £3.8m through a combination of £1.27m Housing Association Grant and £2.53m of private finance.
The New Lodge Redevelopment included the demolition of 200 homes to make way for 88 new homes at a cost of £10.1m through a combination of £6.1m Housing Association Grant and £4m of private finance.
Department for Communities Deputy Secretary, Louise Warde-Hunter said: “It gives me great pleasure to see for myself the contribution the Department of Communities through, the Northern Ireland Housing Executive and the Social Housing Development Programme is making in local communities. We have provided over £7million in housing association grants to take forward these housing projects. It is terrific to see new homes created, greatly improving the quality of life for the residents bringing many benefits and new beginnings for local communities in these areas of housing need.”
Sean McKenna, Chairman, Newington Housing, said: “Newington was really pleased to work in partnership with Apex Housing and others to deliver these much-needed homes. It was great to be able to meet some of the new residents and to see our developments already turning into a community.”
Anthony Kerr, Chief Executive, Newington Housing, said: “Over the past five years the Association has seen significant growth and now owns and manages 721 homes. During this time, Newington HA has invested almost £45 million, through a mixture of Housing Association Grant from the Department for Communities, private finance provided by Danske Bank and from the Association’s own reserves delivering 330 new homes as well as improving and maintaining our existing homes.
I am delighted that individuals and families have already moved into these new homes, which are located within an area of significant housing need. Residents in both developments have access to excellent community services and are in close proximity to the new University of Ulster campus and Belfast City Centre, so people can easily avail of training, education, employment and leisure opportunities, which will undoubtedly enhance their lives.
Moving forward, by working closely with our partners, Apex Housing, other statutory agencies and local communities, we are committed to delivering further new homes across North Belfast. Our model of working in partnership at a local level has proven to be a great way to deliver homes and build communities in areas of extremely high need”.