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Fold Housing Association has commenced an innovative £7m design and build development at Skeoge in Derry-Londonderry, bringing its total investment in the area to almost £40m in the last five years.
The 70 new homes will sit alongside an already established Fold scheme in Glenabbey, where there are 280 families settled in a well planned development with a playpark and extensive open space.
Fold, working in conjunction with the NI Housing Executive (NIHE), identified a need in the Derry area for additional social housing. Since 2010 Fold Housing Association has invested just under £40m in Skeoge with the aim to provide 350 new properties and contribute to an upgrade in infrastructure and transport links.
The Department for Social Development (DSD) and NIHE commissioned Fold to pilot a new procurement method, ˜Competitive Design and Build", for the 70 unit scheme which is under construction. This project will complete the development at Glenabbey.
Anita Conway, Director of Development at Fold Housing Association, said: â€œWe were the first social housing organisation to trial a competitive design and build scheme in Ireland with a 41 unit development on Ravenhill Avenue in Belfast. Skeoge is only the second of its kind to be procured in Northern Ireland. In this more streamlined form of procurement the developer is responsible for the site acquisition, design and construction. Using the competitive design and build route we are able to engage with the developer earlier in the design process to ensure proposals reflect the housing need in the area. The developer enters into a contract with the Association at the inception of the project and this provides a mechanism to access funding.
Acquiring sites in a rising market is getting harder however there is an increasing demand for social housing across Northern Ireland. This additional procurement method has helped to free up some of these opportunities and we are very proud to be able to deliver much needed homes to the Skeoge area. Following the success of this scheme we have been able to secure another 13 unit competitive design and build project in East Belfast and aim to issue further projects in Carrickfergus and Belfast.
Fold has over 700 units in the North West which include sheltered accommodation in Derry-Londonderry, Strabane, Castlederg and Limavady and accommodation for families and singles at Skeoge Road, Galliagh and Eglinton.
Pictured above (L-R) at the launch of the innovative £7m design and build development at Skeoge in Derry-Londonderry is Diana Fitzsimons, Chair of Fold Housing Association, and Professor Deirdre Heenan, Pro Vice Chancellor (Communication) and Provost (Coleraine and Magee), Ulster University.'