DERRY City and Strabane District Council’s Planning Committee have approved plans by Mencap to build a specialised housing development in Strabane that will allow people with learning difficulties to live independently.
The facility will see the redevelopment of a property known as the 'Gentleman's Residence' on the Curlyhill Road and is being delivered by Mencap Northern Ireland in partnership with Golden Lane Housing and the Western Health and Social Care Trust.
It will provide housing on a long-term and short break respite basis and aims to offer supported accommodation and short breaks for people with learning difficulties, offering them more independence and respite for their parents and carers.
Mencap says the new accommodation will offer a mix of shared and single person supported living apartments, bungalows and houses with natural green spaces where tenants can enjoy the stunning outdoors from their own home.
A full planning permission application to build the seven residential units and a separate short term break accommodation unit was unanimously approved by elected members at a recent meeting of the Planning Committee.
Members heard how the project will be completed over three phases with investment of over £4m into the locality.
The entire development will comprise of a mix of attractive spacious and accessible homes for 16 local people, very close to the centre of the town with Mencap support on hand at all times.
At the heart of the project will be a short break facility (respite) reaching over 100 people every year.
Welcoming the granting of planning permission, Barry McMenamin, regional operations manager for Mencap NI said: “Mencap and Golden Lane Housing are delighted to have secured full planning permission to create opportunities for supported living and outline planning permission to develop short breaks accommodation at Curlyhill Road, Strabane for people who have a learning disability.
“Mencap and Golden Lane Housing have been developing our proposals in partnership, through full consultation and an interactive design process, led by our design team at C60 Architects and Planners.
“We held a series of consultations with the local community and related stakeholders including the Western Health and Social Care Trust.
“This project has been developed to ensure people's needs can be fully met through our principle of creating 'ordinary houses on an ordinary street.”
He added: “Securing these planning permissions to date is a very welcome step in the project programme, and we are grateful to Derry and Strabane Council for their diligence and professionalism throughout the process.
“Now, of course there is much work for our project team to do, in order to deliver much needed services for the people of Strabane and wider environs. “We look forward to continuing our engagement with people who have a learning disability and other related stakeholders to develop these schemes as a priority.”
Chair of council’s Planning Committee, councillor Christopher Jackson, added: “I am delighted plans for a specialised housing development in Strabane have been approved.
“The completed project will allow Mencap to enhance their important work in helping those with a learning disability to live independently, to develop their skills and abilities and to achieve fulfilled lives.
“The development will provide quality housing, specially designed and tailored to meet the bespoke needs of the individuals in a location suitable to their needs and those of their families.”