Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s planning committee has cautiously welcomed the Department for Communities’ plan to list a vernacular house in Lurgan.
At the committee’s meeting on Wednesday, April 5, members were told the department has contacted the council to confirm it is proposing to list an old farm house (east of 44) Boconnell Lane in Lurgan.
A report on the matter explains DFC believe the property to be mud-walled and constructed prior to 1760. It also notes the fact it has retained its roughly hewn roof trusses and thatch under a c1900 tin covering makes it more valuable and of considerable local importance.
The committee was informed the council is the owner of the property and its estates department has raised no objections to the proposed listing.
Alderman Sydney Anderson asked if the listing would require the council to return the premises to its “former glories” but was advised by a senior planning officer that would not be the case.
“It is my understanding that once it is listed the property owner has to maintain it reasonably,” said the officer.
“In this case I think structural form is very important. These thatch, under tin, mud-wall buildings are very unique to our area and DfC are very keen to list them.”
Thanking the officer for this clarification, Councillor Sam Nicholson described the building as a “very unique structure” and said he hoped Council’s estates team had thought through the possible long term impact listing this building may have
“I know there is a review of all our properties in Council and this would maybe one that could potentially be sold, or have a new use found and I hope estates have taken that into consideration.
“If this goes down the line and a new use is identified but next thing we know we can’t use it for that new use as it is listed, we will be kicking ourselves but estates have no objections so I am happy to propose.
“I will ask the questions to the estates team myself as, as soon as it is listed it is hard to ‘de-list’, we are in a situation where I could see it has potential so I am happy to propose the letter at this stage.”
The committee’s vice chair, Councillor Kevin Savage seconded the proposal, telling the chamber he was happy it would not lead to any additional cost at this stage.
“I am happy to second Cllr Nicholson’s proposal, this is an historic building and by listing it we are not affecting private citizens, there is no financial burden on them,” he said.
“The onus will be on the estates team to look after the building going forward but I am content to second it based on the fact there will be no additional cost at this stage.”