Approval for major housing development welcomed

March 12, 2018

News that permission has been granted for a major housing development on the outskirts of Newry has been welcomed by Sinn Fein’s Liz Kimmins, who says it will help alleviate the “dire housing situation” in the area.

Councillor Kimmins praised those who engaged in constructive discussions that have led to the planning approval for 200 houses to be built on Watson’s Road, and paid tribute to the developers MJM Marine for taking on board concerns raised by local residents, community associations, residents’ groups and Corrinshego GFC.

Commenting, Ms Kimmins said: “A planning application was submitted in 2013 for residential housing development of 200 houses entailing a mixture of private and social housing.  Many from the local community raised concerns with me, mainly in relation to stretch of road from the top of Barcroft to the junction at Watsons Road. This stretch of road is seen by most as very unsafe for pedestrians and motorists and it was felt that the problem would be further compounded by the increase of traffic if this project was allowed.

“Over the past four years I have been working in partnership with the Watson’s Road Residents Group, Barcroft Community Association and Thomas Davis GFC to try and resolve these concerns.  I have facilitated numerous meetings between the community and planners, Transport NI and the developer MJM. 

“Community engagement has ensured [the planning] approval and I am confident that the new development will help alleviate some of the current housing challenges that many of our community are facing.”

The councillor also referred to the issue of a footpath link that has yet to be resolved: “The outstanding issue of the creation of a footpath link from the greater Barcroft Area including the local primary schools, to the new housing development and Thomas Davis’ planned sports development, has at this stage not been resolved, mainly due to the developer being unable to [obtain] the piece of property necessary from the owner.  That option is still being pursued.  Project developers MJM Marine, who have shown a great willingness to work with the local community, have given a firm commitment to try and resolve this and to continue to liaise with local residents and the community,” she added.

Ms Kimmins says the project will provide stable employment in the construction industry and, when completed, will offer residents easy access to the A1 motorway and the main Dublin/Belfast economic corridor.  And located within the Dromalane Ward – currently a Department for Communities (DfC) designated area of multiple deprivation – she says its construction “send a clear signal of confidence, respect and action to redress the status”.