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A new £5m housing scheme from Flax Housing in North Belfast

Published on: 5 June, 2013

Historic Brookfield Mill gets social housing as the Social Development Minister, Nelson McCausland MLA, opens a new £5m housing scheme in North Belfast.

Pictured with the Minister are John Patterson, Chair, and Donal Conway, Chief Executive of Flax Housing Association and Anne McHale, a tenant in the development.

Pictured with the Minister are John Patterson, Chair, and Donal Conway, Chief Executive of Flax Housing Association and Anne McHale, a tenant in the development.

Demolition of some of the non historic structures within Brookfield Mill, a former linen mill, has made way for 40 two bedroom family apartments over five stories. Flax Housing Association provided all the properties with part funding from the Northern Ireland Executive through the Department for Social Development.

Minister McCausland said:

“I am pleased to be here and hand over the keys to this new social housing development. It is a great achievement to be able to introduce so much vitality back to something that once played such an important part in this community.

“Unused buildings can often blight an area and bring problems of their own, so it is good to see that imaginative thinking on this site has provided a new and very real benefit for local people.

“One of my key objectives as Housing Minister is to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access good quality accommodation. This new development is a real, practical outworking of that commitment which has taken 40 families from the waiting list and provided them with the very best of modern, energy efficient housing. This is all part of my Department’s ongoing commitment to provide housing for those who need it.

“All involved in the planning and development of these new properties should be proud of what has been achieved. I would like to congratulate Flax Housing Association for providing the accommodation and wish tenants well in their new homes.”

The new homes have been built to the latest 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.

A unique feature is a first floor communal garden area where residents can meet and relax. Secure gated car parking for all those who need it has also been provided at ground floor level underneath the five storey complex.

John Patterson, Chair of Flax Housing Association, who accompanied the Minister said:

“We are delighted that Minister McCausland could officially open Brookfield Mill housing development this morning. The scheme provides safe and secure accommodation for 40 families and meets the highest design standards.

“In this area of North Belfast, demand for social housing continues to grow and Flax Housing will continue to seek opportunities to provide good quality social housing for those in need.

“We thank the Department for Social Development and the Housing Executive for their support and look forward to working together to increase access to affordable accommodation.”

During a tour of the new apartments the Minister met with tenants who showed him around their new home.

Note to editors:

  1. Flax Housing Association is one of 29 housing associations registered with the Department for Social Development, with some 500 homes for rent.
  2. This scheme of 40 x two bedroom apartments cost £5.2 million, including land acquisition, construction costs and associated on costs. The Department for Social Development funded £3.7 million through the Housing Executive, with £1.5 million funded by Flax Housing Association through private financing.
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