‘NI Planning red tape holding up home building, investment and jobs’

Comment from James Hagan, founder and chair of Hagan Homes...

Late last year James Hagan and his eight-strong team of design, planning, construction, quality control and financial staff at Hagan Homes committed to building 2000 homes in Northern Ireland in the next 10 years. The announcement coincided with the firm’s 30th anniversary.

Northern Builder has spoken to James Hagan, Chairman of Hagan Homes about his ambitious plan and issues facing the residential home sector. Discussing the company’s track record and planning challenges, James Hagan said:

“Hagan Homes is an award-winning company that has built over 4000 homes across Northern Ireland since it was established. The company is committed to Northern Ireland and as part of a £300million development programme we plan to build 2000 new homes by 2028. In the process we will create and sustain hundreds of jobs in the local construction sector. That figure could be much higher if planning processes here were speedier and less bureaucratic.”

James explains: “I could have an additional 800 homes being constructed right now if decisions were made quicker.

“I was on a site in Glasgow recently and was told that planning permission for the site would take six to nine months. If that was here, I wouldn’t have that permission for two years. Our site in Ballymoney took three years to go through planning. We also have a site in Comber that is awaiting permission – we are in a consortium which plans to build 900 homes on that development and the process to date has taken eight years.

“The current planning process in Northern Ireland is significantly slower and more bureaucratic than in England, yet we are shouting about a need for houses and social houses. The time lag impacts on job creation, inward investment and ultimately people getting houses.”

Hagan Homes’ £300m investment over the next ten years will see sites developed in The Rose Garden, Derriaghy; Shimna Mile, Newcastle; Ballyoran House, Dundonald; Lawnbrook Avenue, Belfast; Old Dundonald Road, Dundonald; Utility Street, Belfast; Gaffiken Street, Belfast; Burn Road, Coleraine; Charlotte Street, Ballymoney; Enler Village, Comber; Ballyveigh, Antrim and Thaxton Village, Lisburn and more.

The homes will be affordable and aimed at first time buyers. Mr Hagan adds: “They are nice houses which offer value for money, that’s what people want; they want a good home with a nice style. We’re interested in reviving existing communities that have altered over the years or lost their appeal to the new buyer.

“We believe that community infrastructure is important, and we’re committed to building sustainable communities, which is also why we provide financial support to a range of charities and voluntary organisations who are working on the ground in the communities that we’re involved in.”