Work to begin building 100 homes on old hospital site

Work to begin building 100 homes on old hospital site

7 February 2018

WORK is to start shortly on a major new housing development in Downpatrick.

Over 100 homes are to be built at the former Downe Hospital site which borders four main roads and has lain derelict since 2009.

The social housing development for Clanmill Housing will include a range of housing types including apartments, two and three storey homes and bungalows, and will include the site of the former St John’s home at Pound Lane.

It is understood the former hospital and nearby canteen building, which are both listed buildings, have been incorporated into the development plan as apartment blocks. 

The development proposal also includes the site of the former Pound Lane Clinic that was demolished after the GP surgery  it housed moved to the new Downe Hospital some years ago.

The main entrance to the former hospital complex, off Pound Lane, will remain as will the entrance into the former Medical Assessment Unit off John Street. A new entrance is also proposed on the Ardglass Road side of the complex.

South Down MLA Colin McGrath said he was “delighted” contracts have been signed and work will soon start on the new social housing scheme.

“This is very welcome news for those on the housing waiting list and those who pass this site on a regular basis. Since the closure of the old hospital, the site has fallen into disrepair and become an eyesore,” he continued.

“Following discussions with Clanmill Housing, it has been confirmed that contracts have now been signed and work on the first phase of the development, which will see 37 homes constructed, should commence shortly. A total of 105 homes will be built at the site.”

Mr McGrath said it is hoped the building programme will be completed by 2020, describing the major building contract as “good news for Downpatrick.”

He said a number of people on the town’s social housing waiting list were classed in the urgent need category and he looked forward to building work getting underway.

He added: “We have a vast number of people who are homeless, staying with friends or living in over-priced, private rented properties. With the introduction of Universal Credit in the spring, affordability will be an even bigger issue so I look forward to the allocation of these new homes.”

News that work is to start soon on redeveloping the former hospital site has also been welcomed by Downpatrick councillor Dermot Curran.

He is delighted with the scale of the proposed development which he said will be warmly welcomed, particularly by people who live close to the surrounding the site.

“The proposed development is a timely boost for the town and I am pleased with its design. The former hospital site has become a blot on the landscape but it is to be given a new lease of life,” he said.