The St Patrick’s site is a strategically important location of approx. 15 hectares, close to the centre of Ballymena. The former Barracks was closed by the Ministry of Defence in 2007 and declared surplus, then transferred to the Northern Ireland Executive. The Department now owns the site and is leading on the delivery of a housing-led regeneration programme, along with other interested public bodies.
As well as obtaining planning approval for the preferred development plan for the site, the Department has also gained approval for the proposed new road infrastructure.
The Development Plan for the site is the roadmap for the flagship, shared, mixed use, housing-led regeneration scheme. The plan includes:
- residential homes;
- an Integrated Industrial Inspiration and Innovation Campus (i4c);
- a leisure and wellbeing centre;
- a new civic space;
- links with the new neighbouring Northern Regional College campus;
- a new PSNI station;
- along with the provision of car parking, road infrastructure and foot and cycle paths.
As well as obtaining planning approval for the preferred development plan for the site, the Department has also gained approval for the proposed new road infrastructure. The coming months will see key housing and road construction projects begin at St Patrick’s.
The public sector stakeholders working with the Department to develop the site are Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Northern Regional College and the PSNI. Radius Housing was appointed by DfC Housing to take forward the shared housing scheme on the site. These parties are represented on a Programme Board for the site’s development, which is led by the Department and meet on a regular basis.
Stakeholders are working in partnership to maximise social value benefits for the surrounding community, aligned to three key themes of
- Jobs and Economic Growth;
- Health, wellbeing and the environment; and
- Strength of community.
The Department has carried out the demolition of all buildings on the Site and extensive remediation works have been undertaken.
The Department also funded the construction of a £7.5m road at the site. The Department for Infrastructure managed the project, with FP McCann Ltd appointed to carry out the works. Construction began in May 2022 with completion in June 2023. The new access road opens the site up to the public for the first time in years, as well as connecting the Larne Link Road to the Broughshane Road.
The new access road also delivers significant improvements in infrastructure and active travel, with a cycle link and access to the ECOS parkland neighbouring the site. Around 280 semi mature trees and 14,000 sq metres of shrub and hedging have been planted as part of the scheme. In the future, as neighbouring developments by Radius Housing and Northern Regional College’s new Campus move to completion, new connector roads off the new road will also open.
View footage of the construction of the new road here:
Radius Housing has been appointed to deliver mixed tenure/shared future housing which will help address housing stress in the area.
As part of the regeneration masterplan, Radius Housing will develop a new mixed tenure housing development consisting of 135 high quality homes at St Patrick’s Barracks. The new residential development which will provide a mix of social homes and affordable homes for sale and represents an investment of circa £26m by Radius.
For further information visit the radius housing website
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are another key partner in delivering the regeneration outcomes for the site and plan to deliver three major elements of the programme:
- i4C Innovation and Cleantech Centre
- New Leisure Centre
- New Central Civic Space
i4C Innovation and Cleantech Centre
The i4C innovation centre is presently being progressed under the Belfast Region City Deal and construction is scheduled to commence in 2024. This is a £23.5 million project and will provide office accommodation, labs and workshops and a range of enterprise and innovation supports for SME’s and local industry. It will include an iLAB makerspace and a skills training workshop where local businesses and entrepreneurs will have access to technicians and equipment in order to develop, test and commercialise their ideas. i4C will provide supports for key industrial sectors, such as advanced manufacturing and agri-food. It will also have a focus on developing supports in clean technology as the economy moves towards zero carbon.
New Leisure Centre
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council are planning for the construction of a new leisure centre at St Patrick’s Barracks which will replace the Seven Towers leisure centre upon completion. This will consist of a 25 metre pool, learner pool, 4 court sports hall, café, gym, spin studios, clip and climb, soft play area and spa facility.
New Central Civic Space
The vision for Council’s proposals at St Patrick’s is that all of the Council assets will be constructed around a new central civic space / events space, creating a central focal point for the development. This space will have a town square feel with current design concepts including low level bollard lighting, raised planters, a water feature and high quality public realm providing access to the front entrances of Council’s buildings for pedestrians. The central public open space is dual purpose and will be transformed into an events space when required.
For further information on the MEABC projects for St Patrick’s please visit the MEABC website
Northern Regional College
Farm Lodge Campus Redevelopment
View the virtual fly through on Youtube.
Northern Regional College has embarked on a £45 million capital investment project, delivering a new state of the art campus on its current site in Farm Lodge, Ballymena. The project is situated beside the wider St Patrick’s site and will have strong links to the neighbouring projects.
Initial preparatory work is underway, with construction work onsite commencing in June 2022. The new campus is due to be operational for the start of term in September 2024 with plans for completion by December 2024.
Facilities at the new Farm Lodge campus will include extensive advanced technology workshops, CAD teaching and support facilities. It will also feature a flexible ‘innovation zone’ that can be adapted for a wide range of activities, including cross-curriculum project-based learning, conferences and performances.
For further information visit the Northern Regional College website
New Police Station
The PSNI plans to develop a new Police Station to replace the current Galgorm Road buildings on the south eastern portion of the St Patrick’s site. The new station will be delivered in line with the wider PSNI transformation and modernisation plans. The new station will be a modern and flexible facility, with a softer appearance similar to other public buildings on the site.
For further information please visit the PSNI website.
The Department will issue e-Newsletters to provide updates on progress at the site.
To sign up to receive these, please email StPatricksSite@communities-ni.gov.uk