Housing needed in Crossgar

SIR, — I warmly welcome the High Court decision which will ensure a proposed social housing scheme at the Downpatrick Road in Crossgar will proceed.

Four new apartments are proposed for the site which originally secured permission for 14 homes before this approval was overturned by former Stormont Environment Minister Alex Attwood.

A legal challenge to Newry, Mourne and Down Council’s decision to grant permission for four new apartments was this week dismissed by Mrs Justice Keegan who rejected claims that the form and pattern of the proposed building was not properly considered.

The judge ruled the decision making process was lawful and could not be characterised as irrational or unreasonable which is good news and a vindication of the local authority’s planning officials.

Work by Choice Housing on a single storey block of four two-bedroom apartments, together with access and parking can now proceed and this will have a positive impact on the waiting list for social homes in the village.

An initial application to develop the Downpatrick Road site was submitted 11 years ago by Trinity Housing and the development of this particular location has been rumbling on since then.

I am pleased that plans by Choice Housing for four apartments can finally proceed, even though I am a little disappointed not more homes were accommodated at this particular site.

These new homes are much-needed in the Crossgar area and I have always insisted the development of the site met planning policy.

As an elected representative who works hard to help deliver new social housing, I am looking forward to work at the Downpatrick Road site starting as soon as possible. There is a major shortage of social housing across the district and the more new-build schemes we have the better.

Yours etc,