New neighbourhood planned for centre of Carrick – but concern over infrastructure

Fresh plans have been drawn up for a long-awaited new neighbourhood in central Carrickfergus – but it has prompted a warning about the growing town’s roads and services.

Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 10:41 am
Updated Thursday, 22nd July 2021, 10:42 am
The ringed area will be filled with new homes under the plans

The planned development will be close to the town’s giant Tesco superstore, off Minorca Drive.

But this is not the first time an application has gone in for the site.

In fact, plans have been submitted for the area (which is currently just an empty field) dating back two decades.

Planning permission already exists for the site. Those blueprints were for building:

> 16 two and three-bedroom detached houses

> 20 four-bedroom semis

> 110 three-bedroom semis

That permission was granted in 2019, and will expire in 2024.

Now the News Letter has discovered that the developers G McGreevy Construction Ltd (from Hilltown, Co Down) have altered their plans and put in a fresh application.

The changes are relatively minor, with the new make-up being:

> 16 two and three-bedroom detached houses

> 12 four-bedroom detached /semis

> 118 semis with either two or three bedrooms

But if this new arrangement is given the thumbs-up by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, it is likely to bring the much-touted development closer to reality at last.

Carrick DUP Alderman Billy Ashe – a former mayor of the borough – said that in the 1970s, Carrickfergus was the fastest growing town in NI, as unionists were pushed out of west and north Belfast.

“And we’re still growing,” he said. “But we can’t continue to bring people to live here and increase the population without infrastructure catching up.”

At the moment, a slew of new housing is being built between Trooperslane and Fortfield, on the southern outskirts of the town.

Alderman Ashe said of the new development on Minorca Drive that it will add more impetus to upgrade the town’s roads, sewers and schools.

“I certainly would like to see some more road infrastructure in that area,” he said.

“We’re fast approaching gridlock at peak times. Put another 150 houses there, at 1.5 cars per household, that certainly intensifies that.

“Anybody coming into Carrick at night knows there’s tailbacks because of the road usage in that particular area.”

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