Almost 350 new homes for the Hightown area of Glengormley have been given the go-ahead by the Planning Service. Plans that have been in the pipeline for the past five years to build 348 new houses off the main Hightown Road were given the green light by the Planning Service recently and was also backed by Newtownabbey Borough Council’s planning committee this week.

The application has to go before the Council’s full meeting for approval before it is rubberstamped.

Sinn Féin councillor Gerry O’Reilly welcomed the news and said the approval will be a boost for jobs in the area and expand the local community.

“This housing development of some 348 homes with car parking and landscaping on the Hightown Road is a significant investment in this community,” he said.

“As well as much needed homes this will be a boost for jobs in the construction sector and a further expansion of this vibrant community.”

He added the approval of the plans must give an added push to the campaign for better transport links to the Hightown Road, which has had hundreds of new houses built over the past number of years.

“It's high time that Hightown's transport links were addressed and this development only makes that need more acute,” said the councillor.

Sinn Féin has been at the forefront of the campaign for vital infrastructure projects accompanying new housing developments.

“That includes accessible transport, shops and community facilities at the early design stages rather than awaiting a crisis to arise.

“Residents of this area already experience extreme difficulties with public transport and traffic jams but rather than this being used as an argument against further development we must use this as a catalyst to get the problem fixed once and for all."