Plans by the Royal Black Institution to relocate to a new headquarters in Co Armagh have taken a step forward.
Formal approval is now being sought to convert a former residential property and antiques shop at Loughgall to provide a new base.
An application has been made to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
The Institution’s intentions were confirmed in January, and centre on an historic property at Main Street known as ‘The Tavern’.
The intention is that it be redeveloped to include administration and meeting facilities, a library, and a small-scale interpretative centre to showcase historical artefacts.
As part of the application, the development would require a rear lean-to building being removed.
The overall headquarters and interpretative centre would stretch to close to 500 sq metres.
Listed building consent has also been applied for.
Historic sashes, it is proposed, would be refurbished. And chimney pots missing fom the building will be replaced, while existing brick chimneys are repointed.
Private car parking facilities would be provided on the site, which is in close proximity to the Museum of Orange Heritage at Sloan’s House, recognised as the birthplace of the Orange Institution.
The Institution has previously been a long serving tenant at Brownlow House in Lurgan, based at the historic building since the late 1920s.
Prior to that, the organisation’s administrative base was located in Belfast and in Dublin.
Sovereign Grand Master, Millar Farr, hailed the announcement in January as the “cusp of an exciting new era” for the Imperial Grand Black Chapter.
If all goes according to plan and approval is given, the Royal Black Institution would hope to take up residence in its new home before the end of 2019.
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