Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland has handed over keys to the new residents of Cecilia’s Walk in Derry.
The £9.8 million development of 53 houses and eight apartments, on the former United Technologies site at Bligh’s Lane, is owned by Apex Housing and was part funded by the Northern Ireland Executive.
The new homes have been allocated to families and older people from the housing waiting list.
The two and three bedroom accommodation has been designed to high energy efficiency specifications, including Secured by Design and Lifetime Homes accreditation, which builds in added security features and flexibility of adaptation if required at a later date.
An attractive green open space with mature trees has been retained from the original site and the scheme also incorporates a children’s play area.
Minister McCausland said: “I am delighted to be here today to hand over the keys for this major new housing development. The building of 61 new homes in this area of high housing need, on what was previously a long standing derelict site, is a magnificent achievement and contributes significantly to the overall regeneration of this part of the city.
“I have been most impressed by what I have seen and pleased that the local community has been closely involved in working with Apex Housing to deliver what we now see on site. My Department values this partnership approach and it really has paid dividends here in producing a new development that is attractive, sustainable and a credit to all concerned.”
The name Cecilia’s Walk was chosen by local schoolchildren.
The new development is located close to St Cecilia’s College and Apex Housing asked the school to decide on a name that would build on the strong community spirit in the area.
The school suggested the name Cecilia’s Walk to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the school. Apex says it was delighted to accept.
Majorie Keenan, Chairperson of Apex Housing, said: “This is a very important redevelopment for Lower Creggan, an area of high housing need. We are very pleased to have provided energy efficient housing on a former derelict site that was troublesome and which impacted adversely on the surrounding communities.”
“Being beside existing primary and secondary schools and the Rathmor Shopping Centre the scheme is ideally located to meet the needs of the new tenants. We have no doubt that over time Cecilia’s Walk will become a highly prized, sustainable community.”
During his visit, the Minister was introduced to new tenants Kevin and Geraldine McGlinchey who showed the Minister around their new home.