The final set of keys have been handed over in the award-winning 280-home Skeoge social housing development in Derry’s Galliagh district, say project partners Fold Housing Association and local developers, Braidwater.
“The scheme began construction in 2010 and the first residents moved into Skeoge in 2012,” says Fold’s Director of Development, Anita Conway. Braidwater and Fold have worked together on a number of projects and the quality of construction is evident in this development.
Vincent Bradley, Project Manager for social housing at Braidwater says the Skeoge scheme is a continuation of over 1000 social and co-ownership homes delivered in the city by the company. “These homes were designed to very high standards including Code for Sustainable Homes, Secure by Design, Lifetime Homes standards. They are highly energy efficient, with average annual energy costs a fraction of those in traditional homes.”
“In addition, it has a state of the art play park, viewing area, open space and wild flower area, all of which add to the clean, open feel of the development. Over £1m combined developer contributions were made to Derry City Council, Translink and the DOE.”
Mr Bradley says there is still a huge unmet need for affordable social and private housing in the city and surrounding area, as no other major developments have been delivered in over 7 years. “This site is the only major cityside development scheme to be delivered to date under an Article 40 Development Agreement - which requires landowners to contribute towards the local infrastructure. “It is also the only development built within the local Area Plan which is now out of date.”
“Braidwater currently have planning applications in the system which have the capacity to meet a proportion of these needs in both the Buncrana road and Galliagh areas. All housing development must meet the right standards and comply with planning regulations and plans, but in Northern Ireland, delays appear to be unnecessarily long compared to other regions in the Republic of Ireland, the UK and Europe as a whole.”
Anita Conway of Fold Housing Association has welcomed the completion of the last house in this development of 280 properties. “This project was developed over a 10-year period. However, Fold would welcome the opportunity to work more closely with the planners and statutory bodies to ensure land is made available to deliver social and affordable housing to help alleviate the significant levels of housing stress in the city.”