Two fire-damaged bungalows in Larne’s Seacourt estate have been improved and reinstated at a cost of around £154k.
The one bedroom, semi-detached dwellings at Seacliff Road, originally constructed in 1977, were frequently targeted by vandals and fell into disrepair with only the original two-metre high walls remaining.
Following appraisal, they have been reinstated as fully accessible two bedroomed bungalows with gas heating and additional space.
One of the new tenants is Claire Taggart, wheelchair athlete and Boccia Paralympian. She is the first female British Boccia champion from Northern Ireland in her classification and will be competing in the UK Championships in June 2019.
She said: “I love my new home, it’s close to my parents and yet a comfortable distance away for me to live independently. As a wheelchair user it was dangerous and stressful for me and my parents, they had to carry me up the stairs every night to my room. After waiting for years I now live safely in my own home that suits me perfectly.”
Claire’s neighbours, Mr and Mrs Kane, are also delighted with their home. Mrs Kane said: “Being able to live here has given me my independence back. I am recovering from back surgery and having all I need on the one level is great. The house is lovely and warm too.”
Responsibility for new build social homes is now undertaken by housing associations with the Housing Executive managing the grant on behalf of the Department for Communities.
Mairead Myles Davey, area manager, is pleased the Housing Executive has been able to rebuild these bungalows for people wanting to live in the estate.
She said: “I’m delighted we’ve been able to rebuild and allocate these homes to people on the waiting list.
“Not only have the bungalows improved the lives of our new tenants but, as they occupy a prominent site in the Seacourt estate close to the local shop, the reinstatement enhances the appearance of the whole area.”