THE former Adria factory site in Strabane’s Ballycolman Estate is set to be transformed by a social housing scheme which will bring 162 new homes to the area.
The development is being spearheaded by Habinteg Housing Association and has been welcomed by local residents and politicians amid ongoing concerns of anti-social behaviour and damage in the area.
This week a design contest for the major new residential development was launched, with the brief to deliver a mix of social, affordable and market rent homes.
A feasibility study has already been completed and a spokesperson for Habinteg Housing said the deadline for applications is January 18, 2019.
“The scheme will deliver 162 new homes across three phases. The development may also feature commercial units for local start-up companies, a renewable energy facility, a creche, play-parks and additional green areas.
“The aim and expectations of Habinteg Housing Association Ulster in all its developments is to ensure that a high standard of construction is maintained throughout and specifications are standardised using the highest quality materials and workmanship standards,” they said.
“Generally, the structural integrity of the buildings shall be designed to have a minimum of 60 years life. The buildings shall be designed using low maintenance components and provide a ‘home for life’ for tenants regardless of change in circumstances.
West Tyrone MLA, Michaela Boyle, said she had been lobbying, along with MP Órfhlaith Begley and councillor Brian McMahon, the Housing Executive and other housing associations for sometime on the need for social housing in Strabane.
“We have had discussions and met with Habinteg management a number of times over recent months on the Adria development and have fed in information regarding what is needed in the area,” she said.
“This progress on the site is very welcome news. I would like to commend Habinteg for their work so far on this project and their commitment to tackling the social housing crisis in in Strabane.”
Local residents have welcomed the scheme, which they say cannot come soon enough due to the incidents of criminal damage and anti-social behaviour on the site, which has been vacant since 2014.
Brian Kelly said he hoped that the scheme would get underway as soon as possible.
“There have been about 10 bonfires lit on this site in the past couple of years and it’s great that something is now finally going to be done. Hopefully, the new houses will also lead to more shops and other services coming into the area as well.”
Eileen McKay said her house had been regularly used by the fire service to access water to extinguish fires in the area and that a new housing scheme would benefit the whole area.
“There was a proposal for high rise flats on this site a few years ago and obviously that wouldn’t have been acceptable. This new plan looks like being a lot better,” she said.
“People need new housing and this should help address that issue here in Strabane as well.”
The old Adria site which will be transformed by the Habinteg development. DR84