Cream of the barley

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The construction of a new £50 million housing development at Culmore, on the outskirts of Derry, will generate 200 jobs and create a neighbourhood on a par with “anything available in gated communities in the United States.”

That’s according to local developer, Taggart Homes, which has described the decision to approve plans for more than 200 new homes on the ‘Barleyfield’ site as a massive boost.

The builder claimed there has already been more than 2,000 enquiries about the new homes which range in price from £155,000 to £400,000.

The company has committed to completing the homes to the highest standard “equivalent and better to anything available in gated communities in the United States.”

A spokesperson for Taggart Homes said: “This is the most anticipated development announcement in the city in more than a decade.

“We have already received more than 2,000 enquiries for the development.

“The confirmation of full planning permission is a major boost for jobs and local businesses with staff, contractors and suppliers in the local area.”

The firm said 2017 will see the completion of 300 homes by the end of the year on its sites since starting back in business 24 months ago.

The spokesperson added: “The company is currently on site with four developments and has sold more than 100 homes since the beginning of 2017.

“Each home is finished to the highest possible specification with quality inside and outside each property only seen in high-end gated communities in America.”

The development, which stretches all the way from the Culmore Road down to the Point Road on the banks of the Foyle includes a range of housing from chalet bungalows to detached luxury housing.

The company said 71 homes on the development have already been released and explained that it wants to sustain prices in the £155,000 to £400,000 range.

However, with strong demand on construction material in United Kingdom, it’s probably inevitable prices will increase in due course, the firm said.

During the meeting a planning officer advised that a previous application for a similar, but larger development on the same site had attracted over 200 objections.

The officer said that while this development had attracted 50 objections, several problems had been addressed by the developer.

The committee also heard how residents will be able to access the new development from both the Culmore Road and the Point Road although the estate is “meandering to discourage it being used as a rat-run.”

A play park will be installed near the bottom of ‘Barleyfield,’ while a drop-off loop will be created at the top, near the Culmore Road.

This will make it safer for parents dropping children off to local primary schools and prevent congestion on the Culmore Road itself.

Sinn Féin Colr. Tony Hassan said he was pleased to see progress on what has been “a long saga for a number of years.”

Referring to the fact that a previous development application had attracted 200 objections, he commented: “I’m glad to see the current developers have listened to the concerns of residents.”

However, Colr. Hassan did express some concern about the opportunity motorists will have of driving right through the new development.

“Obviously with the through-road I’m a wee bit disappointed,” he added.

“A rat run is not what you want and maybe that could be amended.”

Speaking after the meeting, chair of the Planning Committee, Colr. John Boyle, said the developments were extremely beneficial for the city and district.

“I am delighted that these significant developments have been granted permission following this meeting and can now progress to the next stage.

“There is high demand for good quality housing locally and these developments will go some way to meeting that demand. The work itself will result in jobs and opportunities within the construction industry which can only directly benefit the local economy.”

Colr. Hassan said the Barleyfields development was a boost for the area.

“It sends out the message that the housing market is picking up again in the city and will allow first time buyers a chance to get on to the housing ladder,” he noted.