A prestigious award for a housing development on derelict wasteland in Carrickfergus is a vote of confidence in the local building industry.
That was the message from East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson after he visited Orland Meadow on Friday afternoon.
Mr Wilson was shown around the 23 three and four bedroom properties by site manager Ricky Morrow, from Vaughan Homes, who has won an NHBC Seal of Excellence Pride in the Job Award for the last two years.
The visit took place amid signs of an improving housing market. The number of homes registered to be built in Northern Ireland has almost doubled since 2012 with a fourth consecutive year of growth.
Mr Wilson said: “I was delighted to be invited to the Orland Meadow development in Carrickfergus and congratulate the developers, Vaughan Homes on achieving the NHBC Seal of Excellence Pride in the Job Award.
“An area which caused problems for residents because of its dereliction has now been turned into something which is of value to the community and has provided homes of a high standard to 23 families.
“Building work always causes disruption to a community and I am particularly pleased that the effort which the developer has put in to ensuring that the avoidance to disruption to nearby homes during the construction period was foremost in their planning of their work on the site.
“Our construction industry has gone through a hard period but it is vital to the prosperity of our economy and deserves the support of all Parliamentarians both at local and national level.”
The tour was organised by warranty and insurance provider NHBC and Vaughan Homes.
David Little, NHBC regional director for Northern Ireland, said: “As the UK’s leading insurance and warranty provider of new homes, NHBC works closely with housebuilders to support the delivery of high quality homes. We also work with Parliamentarians to develop and promote good housing policy.”
Welcoming the interest shown by Mr Wilson, Bryan Vaughan, director of Vaughan Homes, said: “Our industry has suffered heavily since 2007 with over 29,000 job losses and it continues to be effected by the delays both at Stormont and local government. Particularly, delays in planning approvals will have an effect not only on our industry but also on the NI economy.
“Hopefully this can become part of the discussion during the Stormont elections to be held later in the year.”