Northern Ireland

DSD selling land at Ballee for greatly reduced price

The executive is trying to sell a large tract of housing land in Ballymena.

The Department of Social Development, which owns the 97 acre site at Ballee, has gone to the open market after failing to sell it back to the original owners.

It had acquired the land by compulsory purchase in 1970 but never developed it.

It is understood a valuation done a year ago said it may be worth around £9m.

In a statement, the DSD said: "The department sought to negotiate a sale of the land to its the former owners or their descendants, but was unable to agree a mutually acceptable price."

In 2007, before the property market crash, the DSD had been offered £50m for the site by a business consortium, but the department's valuation was £75m and so no deal materialised.

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