Northern Ireland

Newtownards: Developer Fraser Houses plans to build 1,000 homes

An aerial view of the Rivenwood site outside Newtownards which has been earmarked for 1,000 homes Image copyright Fraser Houses
Image caption An aerial view of the Rivenwood site outside Newtownards which has been earmarked for 1,000 homes

Plans to build about 1,000 homes on a 100-acre site on the edge of Newtownards, County Down, have been announced by developer Fraser Houses.

The project, which has planning for an initial 100 houses, will probably take 10 years to complete.

Housebuilders in Northern Ireland are beginning major schemes for the first time since the property crash.

Last month, Lagan Homes said it would build 550 houses on two sites in Bangor, County Down.

Work is also due to restart soon at the Readers Park development in Ballyclare, County Antrim, which was bought by the Neptune Group last year.

The Fraser Houses scheme, to be called Rivenwood, is on the Movilla Road on the eastern side of Newtownards.

Construction is due to start in the summer, with the first houses ready to move into in late 2016.

Opposition

The developer said it represents an investment of about £200m and will be the largest housing scheme to have started in the last 10 years.

However, in previous years there has been strong opposition to plans for additional housing in the area from existing residents.

Theo Allen, a former chair of Movilla Residents' Association, told the BBC there were more than 3,000 objections to an earlier plan for 100 homes on the site, which was rejected by the Planning Appeals Commission in 2006.

Mr Allen questioned if the local infrastructure could cope with 100 new homes, never mind 1,000.

Private house building in Northern Ireland collapsed when a house price bubble burst in 2007/08.

Official figures show just over 4,500 private housing units were completed in 2014/15.

That compares to more than 16,500 completions in 2005/06.

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