Two major local house building companies have had plans for 126 homes in Maghaberry unanimously approved at the October planning meeting.
The application will bring with it approximately £20m of investment and is expected to create and protect up to 120 skilled construction jobs over the next five years.
The developers QTH Ltd and Coulter Homes established the Maghaberry Community Development Trust as a response to a comprehensive Community Consultation. This Trust will invest a capital sum £126,000 directly into Maghaberry in conjunction with the purposes of the Trust. It is hoped that in many instances applications for these charitable funds could be used to leverage match funding and that the Community will begin to experience benefit in the very near future.
Welcoming the Council decision Rob Lewis, Managing Director of QTH Ltd said: “The Council Members took into consideration each element of a unique application, including an extensive public consultation process. Our submission was supported with evidence from local MLAs Edwin Poots and Robbie Butler, coupled with planning and legal opinion, to reach a decision that should allow Maghaberry to continue build on a legacy of success.
“Being a resident of Maghaberry, I was determined that we would embrace the spirit of the new planning system. The new system is arguably more community focused and relevant than before, which should result in greater balanced benefit being delivered to Northern Ireland as a whole. We did everything in our power to listen over a two-year period to local residents in order to deliver a balanced application that would allow us to complement our previous community investment in Maghaberry. It will be a privilege to continue working in the Community and we look forward to further supporting positive change within the area.”
Philip Coulter, Managing Director of Coulter Homes said he was delighted with the decision and thanked the local community for their feedback and support.
Having spoken in support of the application, Edwin Poots MLA said he was particularly happy with what represented a thoughtful and appropriate decision for Maghaberry.
He said: “The Maghaberry Community Development Trust is something I believe is a first in Northern Ireland but should be a model that could be replicated by other Councils to ensure a real commitment to developing sustainable communities.
“QTH and Coulter Homes have been at the heart of developing the wonderful village spirit that makes Maghaberry a place everyone wants to live.
““Maghaberry is one of the real success stories of our Council area and while we want to protect its very special village atmosphere I believe this kind of measured development will maintain its vibrancy, while encouraging other much needed support for existing shops and services, which should be invaluable to the residents.”
Local resident and newly elected MLA for the area Robbie Butler, outlined the fact that the land in question was a centre for anti-social behaviour and welcomed the decision which he hoped would alleviate the problem for local residents.
He added: “This is a major investment not just in homes, but in jobs and local suppliers. These companies both have a policy of using local people and they are very much at the heart of the community.”