Social Development Minister, Mervyn Storey MLA, has laid the first brick at a new £9.5m social housing development on the former Dunmurry High School site.
The scheme, funded by the Department for Social Development and Connswater Homes, will consist of 98 family homes and will include 30, three bedroom semi-detached; 54, two bedroom semi detached; 8, one bedroom apartments; and 6, homes for special needs clients.
Dunmurry High School closed its doors in 2012 due to falling numbers.
At that time, there were 110 pupils — well below the target of 500 — were enrolled in the school.
Minister Storey said: “I am very pleased to visit the site today marking the beginning of the construction of what will be an exciting and much needed new housing project for the Dunmurry area.
“Dunmurry and Seymour Hill are popular residential areas and the development of 98 homes on this former High School site will go some way towards addressing the waiting list in this area as well as helping to rejuvenate the community.”
“Connswater Homes should be congratulated for utilising this public sector land by constructing these new social homes and breathing new life back into this vacant site,” the Minister added.
The new homes being constructed by T&A Kernoghan will be built to high energy efficiency levels with Lifetime Homes and secured by D=eesign accreditation in place with completion expected by summer 2017.
Connswater Homes’ Development Manager, Nadine Ritchie said: “We are delighted to mark this exciting milestone for the Dunmurry High School project and to be joined by Minister for Social Development Mervyn Storey MLA, Connswater Homes’ Board Chair Paddy Gray, Margaret Tolerton Chair of Seymour Hill Steering Group and local community and political representatives.
“The 98 new-build properties due to complete early 2017 will be a positive asset to the local community given the high demand for affordable family accommodation in this area.”
The total construction cost will be in the region of £9.5m, including land acquisition, construction costs and associated on costs. The Department for Social Development will fund £5.5 million in grant through the Housing Executive and Connswater Housing will contribute £4.0million through private borrowing.
Connswater Homes took ownership of the site from the South Eastern Education and Library Board in 2014.