11 March 2015
Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA, today welcomed 76 new homes for the Shankill area.
Officially opening a new Â£6.3million housing scheme which has delivered 54 homes by Fold Housing Association at Battenberg Street, the Minister also announced a further 22 new social and affordable homes to be built in the Lawnbrook area, also in the Shankill.
The Minister said: 'These 54 much needed, new and modern, energy efficient homes will make a huge difference to those who live in them and indeed to the surrounding community.'
'These homes are the first tranche of a mixed tenure development in the Lawnbrook Urban Renewal Area and I am pleased to be able to announce plans for a further 22 social and affordable houses also for the Shankill area. I expect construction to begin on these additional homes in the new financial year. These will help transform another derelict site into an area where people are proud to live.'
'Today represents a new community in the making, with young families again returning vibrancy and life to the streets around the Shankill Road. Local reaction to the new build has been very positive and I have no doubt that this attractive housing, plus the new plans in the pipeline, should attract more residents and investment to the area.'
During his tour of the new scheme, Minister Storey handed over the keys of her new home to tenant Amanda Herron. Amanda said: â€œThe new house is brilliant. There is plenty of room and the big bedroom is great for the baby's cot too. Everything is fantastic with the house and I am a lot more convenient to shops and other facilities.'
Diana Fitzsimons, Chair of Fold Housing Association said: â€œThese new homes at Battenberg Street in Lawnbrook represent the continuing transformation of the area as a better, safer and healthier place to live. Fold has helped to improve living conditions which will encourage and promote physical, social and community regeneration.
'We are delighted to see that many of our new tenants are the very people who had to move out of their original homes to allow the regeneration to take place. They are now back where they belong, in a brand new, high quality home. Fold wish to extend thanks to the Department for Social Development, the Housing Executive, the Design Team and local political and community representatives, for their hard work and dedication in bring this development to fruition.'
Earlier in the day, the Minister also addressed the Greater Shankill Housing Community Convention at the Spectrum Centre on the Shankill Road.
The Minister took the opportunity to outline what has been delivered in the Shankill area over the last four years while acknowledging that more can be done. The Minister said: 'Over the past four years a total of 106 new social homes have been completed, others are under construction and I have today announced plans for future development. This investment, along with the ongoing maintenance programme, my Department's Building Successful Communities pilot and Neighbourhood Renewal funding demonstrate my commitment to the ongoing regeneration of this area.
'Looking to the future, I understand there are issues and concerns amongst the local community about the future regeneration of the Greater Shankill. They are passionate about their area and rightly expect their issues to be addressed. I give my commitment that my Department will continue to work with the local community to address the challenges ahead.'
Pictured above: Minister for Social Development Mervyn Storey MLA, Diana Fitzsimons, Chair, Fold Housing Association play tea with Tamzin one of the young residents in Fold's new homes on Battenberg Street.
Pictured below: Minister Storey MLA with new resident Amanda Herron and her daughter TamZin with Diana Fitzsimons, Chair, Fold Housing Association.
Minister Storey with Fold team, Eileen Patterson, Diana Fitzsimons, John McLean and Anita Conway.