Updated: 19 Jan 2019
We continue to assist urban and rural regeneration throughout Northern Ireland, making significant economic, community and social improvements.
Urban regeneration projects included two flagship ‘mixed use/mixed tenure’ schemes: Hope Street and Posnett Street in Belfast. During the last year we progressed both sites as public sector managed developments.
Radius Housing and Clanmil Housing Association have been appointed as the developing partner for social and affordable homes at Hope Street and Posnett Street respectively. Both sites will have significant impact for the regeneration of Belfast city.
We continue to work with other partners to support mixed use schemes on publicly owned land. Radius Housing Association has been appointed to develop a mixed tenure scheme of 170 homes at St Patrick’s Barracks, Ballymena and are progressing the Regeneration Strategy at Galliagh Linear Park, including 30 new social homes for older persons.
Small pockets of deprivation
In 2017/18, we allocated £402k Neighbourhood Renewal funding in 14 neighbourhoods through the Small Pockets of Deprivation Programme (SPOD) to support regeneration initiatives across Northern Ireland.
The Empty Homes Strategy and Action Plan, which was launched by the Department for Social Development in September 2013, seeks to bring empty homes across Northern Ireland towns and cities back into use and address and reduce the negative impact of blight, property deterioration, anti - social behaviour and vandalism. To assist in this strategy, the Housing Executive developed the Empty Homes Unit (EHU) in January 2014.
In January 2016, the Department commenced a review of the Empty Homes Strategy, and our activity since then has been focused on maintaining the Empty Homes database.
Out of the 1,379 properties reported as empty homes at 31 March 2018, 377 of these cases have been closed after investigation found that the properties were either occupied, for sale, for letting or under renovation.
406 properties reported are considered to be abandoned or blocked up, leaving 596 properties still considered as empty homes.
Arrangements have now been agreed between the Housing Executive and the Department for Communities to transfer responsibility for the management and administration of the Empty Homes database to the Department
We have now completed the second year of the Housing Executive’s Rural Strategy and Action Plan 2016-20 ‘Sustainable Rural Communities. The Strategy embraces the wider reforms of social housing, local government and the emergence of community planning. Through the Action Plan we have set out to ensure that rural areas (those with a population below 5,000) receive an equitable share of all our services, based on analysis of need and monitoring of our activities.
In terms of increasing the supply of rural social housing stock, some 144 social housing units were delivered across our rural villages and small settlements in 2017/2018, against a target of 199 units.