Almost 180 new social houses approved for Derry

Planning permission has been granted for over 170 new social homes in Derry.

The Skeoge area. (file pic)
The Skeoge area. (file pic)

The Apex Housing application is in relation to a six hectare site in Galliagh and came before Derry & Strabane’s Planning Committee on Wednesday.

The Committee was told Apex are planning to construct 170 general needs housing and six complex needs units, with parking and landscaping.

The development is to be sited on vacant land at Galliagh, south of Skeoge Link Road and north of Lower Galliagh Road, north of the Glendale / Rossnagalliagh Park area, with work to start within the current financial year.

A report brought before the Committee stated that the Housing Executive’s Westbank Housing Area currently has a social housing need projection for 2,160 units for the five years from 2017 to 2022, and that this development proposal, if approved, would contribute towards meeting that projected need.

The wider H1C area, which has been zoned for various housing projects, some of which are currently under construction, will be serviced by a Linear Park linking the developments, the report stated.

Neighbourhood facilities were required as part of the outline 1,500 housing unit site planning approval, with two local centres and a school having been approved as part of this.

The new development will comprise a mix of 13 different house types within the development, ranging from semi-detached and detached dwellings to complex needs bungalows and apartments.

Objectors in existing homes in the vicinity had raised concerns over being overlooked.

The application was approved subject to conditions, including that a new play park must be constructed, following a suggestion by SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins.

Colr Dobbins said: “There’s a 5,000 plus deficit of housing need so this is just a spit in the ocean that will help to chip away at that deficit.

“I would like to propose we accept the officer’s recommendation to approve.

“I’m very pleased to see adapted bungalows in this application.”

Both Colr. Dobbins and Sinn Fein Colr. Christopher Jackson made reference to recently retired Councillor Tony Hassan, who was heavily involved in lobbying for the Skeoge developments.

Colr. Jackson said: “With Tony in mind, I am encouraged with the provision of play facilities in this.

“I know there is huge potential for housing along the Skeoge Link, and one of the things that rings true with me is one of Tony Hassan’s comments that we should be mindful that community facilities are provided as part of the developments.

“What Tony alluded to was Galliagh, where there are huge swathes of houses but very little in the way of facilities.”

The planning officer’s recommendation that the housing project be approved was unanimously backed by the Committee.