Minister hands over housing in Creggan

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THE largest transfer of home ownership from the Housing Executive is to go ahead in Creggan.

A total of 55 homes are to transfer to the Apex Housing Association from the Executive. That will allow Apex to then carry out improvements to 38 homes in Rinmore Drive, Linsfort Court and Balbane Pass, then redevelop 17 bungalows in Culdaff Gardens.

Apex is to raise the £1.3million needed to carry out the work through private finance.

Social Development minister Alex Attwood visited Creggan this week to meet the residents who voted to take part in the scheme, which is the largest scale transfer of housing stock in Northern Ireland.

“Back in the summer of 2009, my predecessor was approached by the local community who wanted to see what more they could do to get the work on the remaining homes in their estate completed,” he said.

“Since then we have worked closely with the Housing Executive and Apex Housing Association to see how this could be delivered.

“This has always been a community led initiative and the wishes of the community have been paramount at all times in this process. I welcome that the process has brought about such overwhelming support for this transfer with 89% of tenants voting in favour of it. I wanted to call with residents during my visit to Derry to thank them for their patience over the last months and assure them that I have heard their message and will support their desire to have these homes transferred and improved.

Refurbishment work is due to start in the summer after the formal transfer of the houses from the Executive to Apex has been formalised.

The Minister also officially opened the newly refurbished Little Orchids children’s centre in the Waterside during his visit.

It received a Big Lottery fund grant of £50,000 for a new outdoor play area and garden.

“This centre is good news for the people of Derry,” Mr Attwood said.

“The upgraded facility will provide important therapeutic services for the children, their families and carers.

“All children deserve the best start in life and it is especially important that relevant provision is made for children with special needs.”