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Hunt to find new tenant for Armagh’s iconic Palace Lodge as Council team move out

It sits mere yards from the ancient Franciscan Friary remains and a decision to look for a new tenant comes months after fresh attempts to secure a new restaurant operator at the nearby Palace Stables

Palace Gatelodge Armagh

One of Armagh’s most famous buildings – the iconic Palace Lodge – is up for let.

The property had been home to the Armagh Townscape Heritage initiative, which has been responsible for overseeing the investment of millions of pounds in funding to improve the city’s streetscape.

But Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council has confirmed that the Townscape Heritage body has not now been dissolved as a result of its base – mere yards from the ancient Franciscan Friary remains – now being advertised for rent.

It is leading a National Lottery Heritage-funded regeneration Programme.

Some £6.3m in funding was secured for the Armagh City Townscape Scheme which consists of £2 million from ABC Council, £1.92 million from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the remainder from private property owners.

Architectural gems have been brought back into productive use and other city centre properties have also been restored to former glories thanks to the initiative.

While much work has been done, ABC Council insists that the project is still ongoing despite a change of address.

The Palace Lodge had previously been home to register births, deaths and marriages within the Armagh City and District.

The Registrar and team have since been rehoused elsewhere within the Palace Demesne.

And a spokesperson for ABC Council told Armagh I that this was also now the case for the Townscape Heritage team.

They said: “The Armagh Townscape Heritage scheme is an ongoing project for council, with staff working on the scheme now based in the Palace.

“The council regularly reviews its accommodation requirements for staff. Staff from the Lodge have been relocated within available accommodation at the Palace and Stables buildings.

“The Gate Lodge building is currently on the market to let, information regarding this is publicly available. The letting of the Gate Lodge will provide an opportunity for alternative use into the future.”

The property is being advertised to let by Belfast-based O’Connor, Kennedy and Turtle, which describes it as “an attractive two storey Listed Building which until recently was utilised as office accommodation”.

The agent adds: “The subject property is located at the entrance to the Palace Demesne which comprises some 70 acres of undulating parkland and facilities.

“Internally the premises provides a range of open plan and cellular space over both floors together with a range of staff facilities and WCs.

“Externally the property benefits from an attractive rear enclosed yard and the use of communal car parking to its front elevation.”

The move to find a new tenant for the Palace Lodge comes two months after Armagh I reported on fresh efforts to find a new restaurant or cafe operator at the Palace Stables.

It came five years after the shock closure of the Moody Boar, the operators at that time citing financial pressures.

ABC Council declined to comment on our story two months ago.

And, asked for an update this week on progress or interest in the property since advertised and the potential for a new tenant, the local authority has provided no further update.

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