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Mid and East Antrim Preferred Options Paper

The Preferred Options Paper is now published.

The POP is now published and can be viewed here. Consultation will close on 6 September.


  • 6,230 new homes by 2030 (HGI figure)
  • 8,000 new jobs
  • Reclassification of settlements and designation of new settlements
  • Over 50% of housing allocation to go to the main towns of Larne, Ballymena and Carrickfergus
  • Retention of existing zoned employment land
  • Additional employment land at Ballymena

Housing Ballymena


  • Population projections suggest that the population will increase by 3.6% by 2030 to population of 142,164.
  • The population is ageing and the plan will assist in addressing this by locating housing in areas accessible to health and community services.
  • The average household size is expected to decrease from 2.47 (2011) to 2.37 by 2030.
  • One of the strategic objectives is to develop the particular strengths of Ballymena, Larne and Carrickfergus, to enable them to realise their potential as main centres of population and employment.
  • Ballymena is proposed as one of three main towns. The focus of major population growth will be in the main towns.
  • 2016 HGI figure suggests 5,400 dwellings for MEA from 2012- 2025. Previous HGI (2008) suggest 14,000 dwellings from 2008-2025. Using the 2012 figure the pro-rata requirement for the plan period (2015-2030) would be 6,230.
  • The exact housing allocation for each settlement will be set out in the Draft Plan Strategy however it is indicated that 58% will be directed to the three main towns. This has been calculated on the basis of the main towns’ share of households as shown in the 2011 Census. This seems restrictive as the numbers of households within a settlement are limited by the number of dwellings constructed in the settlement over the same plan period. It would be useful to understand the make-up of households in Ballymena and the level of housebuilding that has taken place to check if this should be higher.
  • The Housing Monitor suggests that there is remaining capacity for 12,636 units in the borough, with capacity for 3,614 in Ballymena. 87ha of zoned land in Ballymena town (out of 150ha that was zoned) remains undeveloped, which the council consider has capacity to accommodation 2,125 units. Why is this the case, is it in the right location etc.?
  • Unzoned land with planning permission would provide capacity for 1,430 units across the borough.
  • NIHE suggest that there is a social housing need for 2,359 units between 2016 and 2030. Ballymena is identified as area of greatest need.
  • The POP also considers developer contributions. The council are seeking to develop a policy which will identify the types and thresholds for development that will require contributions. The POP does reference the need to be aware of viability and also the resource implications for the council.

If you have any questions regarding the Preferred Options Paper, please contact Angela Wiggam or Emma Walker.

14 June 2017

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