Choice unveils £1.5m renovation of former Victoria Housing Estates scheme

Choice Group chief executive Michael McDonnell (second left) with Jason Donaldson (Choice project manager), Lorna Brown (Choice asset project liaison officer) and Raymond McCartan (Piperhill site manager)

CHOICE Housing has handed over six newly refurbished former Victoria Housing Estates (VHE) properties in west Belfast, which were acquired as part of a £20 million stock transfer in 2020.

The £1.5m investment in the previously void properties in Riverdale included extensive internal and external upgrades, and the properties will initially provide temporary homes for families in other occupied former VHE housing to facilitate upgrades to their houses.

The stock transfer, which included almost 300 previously managed VHE properties, included a significant programme of renovation and refurbishment to bring the properties in line with the Decent Homes Standard.

Phase one of this project involved upgrading void properties across all other properties that transferred to Choice - also Harmin Avenue, Harmin Drive and Farmley Park in Glengormley; Worcester Avenue in Bangor; and Cherryhill, Holywood Road and Clonaver in east Belfast.

Following completion of the wider refurbishment project, the formerly void properties will then be offered to new individuals and families in need of quality affordable housing.

Choice Group chief executive Michael McDonnell said: “Our VHE refurbishment project has made significant progress and remains on target for completion by summer 2024.

“With a mix of houses and apartments, the programme was divided into 10 phases, with the initial focus being on completing the void properties to facilitate temporary housing for families whose homes needed extensive repair.

“With the demand for quality social housing increasing, it is vital that we deliver on this project in a timely manner with the formerly void properties eventually becoming available homes for people across all of the areas included in the programme.

“Working with Moore MacDonald building surveyors and Piperhill Construction, the upgrades to Riverdale begun in January, and we have completed this phase in just over six months.”

The investment in Riverdale forms part of the £10m which will be invested in properties across west Belfast on full completion of the project, with expected completion expected by the end of 2024.

Extensive upgrades, aimed at bringing the properties up to meet the Decent Homes Standard included new roofs, kitchen and bathroom installations, all new electrical and heating installations, new UPVC DG windows and composite SBD external doors, upgrade of fiberglass insulation and external site works.