PLANS to transform the grounds of the former Our Lady of Mercy High School site in Strabane into a major social housing development have taken a major step forward.
McGettigan Homes Ltd is proposing to develop the site at Evish Road into 76 houses and has formally submitted its planning application to Derry City and Strabane District Council.
It follows an interactive consultation process last year and pre-application discussions with council.
The new homes are set to be built on lands to the north of Evish Road and East of Mount Carmel Heights on the grounds of the former school site which has been vacant for more than a decade and has become a well-known hot spot for anti-social behaviour.
The company says the development will seek to deliver a mix of homes including a blend of three-bedroom and two-bedroom houses and a selection of one and two bedroom apartments.
Paul McGettigan of McGettigan Homes Ltd., said the proposals intend to return the vacant brownfield site to a positive use which should also assist in alleviating anti-social behaviour which has disrupted the site for a number of years.
He commented: “During our engagement with the local community we were overwhelmed with the support for our proposals to bring new homes to Strabane, which we believe is testament to the continued need for a reduction in housing stress in the area.
"After a number of constructive conversations with the community and Derry City and Strabane District Council, we are delighted to submit these proposals and look forward to seeing it progress at pace through the planning system.”
The new homes will be managed by social housing provider Clanmil Housing Association.
Greg Woods, is design and delivery manager for Clanmil Housing Association.
"We are grateful for the support that has been received during consultation for this proposal, and the level of positive feedback demonstrates a need for further commitment to social housing in Strabane," he said.
"We hope that the provision of high quality social homes for the people of Strabane will make a positive impact on the wider community in future.”
The approved scheme has been designed by RPP Architects and seeks to add much needed rejuvenation to the currently vacant site while remaining sensitive to the surrounding neighbourhood.
"The project team is pleased to see this proposal for new social homes submitted to the council. In the last six months we have received helpful feedback to allow us to finesse the design further and we hope the updated proposals for this new residential development will help create a place to call home for a number of families in Strabane," Kevin Rainey from RPP Architects, said.
Following determination of the application, construction is expected to begin in March 2022.
Sam McKee, is director at Turley, the project’s planning consultancy. He also expressed his delight at seeing the proposals move forward.
"We hope this community-focused development will pave the way for more high quality social housing across Strabane, easing housing stress across the local area and regenerating this important site," he added.