Green light for £50m housing scheme on former Belfast driving range

Mount Ober development will see 141 homes built on former Knockbracken Driving Range

An artistic impression of the style of houses included in the Mount Ober scheme.
An artistic impression of the style of houses included in the Mount Ober scheme.

Planning authorities have signed off on plans to build a £50 million residential scheme on a former driving range on the outskirts of south Belfast.

The Knockbracken Driving Range on Ballymaconaghy Road in the Four Winds area has already been demolished to make way for the 141 new homes.

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s planning department has now approved the joint bid by Lotus Homes and Benmore Group.

The Mount Ober scheme will comprise 81 detached houses, 44 semi-detached; two bungalows and 14 apartments.

All the properties will be EPC A-rated and will come equipped with solar panels and wiring for electric vehicle charging points.

Work is expected to begin in the coming weeks, with around 60 construction roles involved in the residential project.

New analysis published by Ulster University on Monday put the average price of a new build home in Northern Ireland at around £261,269 in the first quarter of 2024.

With a total cost of £50m for a scheme containing 141 properties, the sale prices in the Mount Ober scheme are expected to significantly above that average.

Lotus Homes is part of the Banbridge-based Lotus Group, owned by the Murdock family.

Its interests include the Junction and Boulevard retail parks.

The Lotus Group is also behind plans for a 724-unit student accommodation scheme on Belfast’s Donegall Street and a £20m aparthotel on Wellington Place.

Its residential arm is currently seeking approval for 104 social housing units on the former Havelock House site on Belfast’s Ormeau Road.

Benmore’s portfolio spans commercial, residential and healthcare.

Martin Tumilty, director of Lotus Homes, said: “Since we commenced work on these proposals in 2022 we have engaged in positive discussions with local elected representatives and the local community, and we pay tribute to Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council for their thorough engagement throughout the planning process.

“We’re pleased to now be able to bring new homes, including 29 affordable homes, to an area that in recent years has seen increasing demand for housing.

“We hope to start construction work as soon as possible, with the first homes being ready for occupation later this year.

“This area of Belfast is extremely popular with first time buyers and families, and we look forward to welcoming our new residents in due course.”

Affordable housing is defined as social rented housing, intermediate housing for sale, or intermediate housing for rent.