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Council says ‘We do’ to wedding and conference venue plan to ‘secure survival’ of historic house

A family wedding was held at Tullymurry House in 2016 and it was the 'positive response' of guests that gave the owners the idea to extend the use of the house and outbuildings to cater for similar events

Tullymurry House Newry

Brides-to-be could have an added choice of venue as outbuildings at an historic Newry property are to be converted into a new conference and wedding venue.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has said ‘We do’ to a request for planning permission at Tullymurry House – which dates back to around the 1840s – at Donaghmore, Newry.

The application, in the name of Tullymurry House Ltd, was for the change of use of existing outbuildings and stackyard to a conference centre/wedding venue. It was first submitted back in the summer of 2018 and has been under consideration since.

Listed building consent has also been given for a development plan estimated to cost in the region of £200,000 by Construction Information Services.

Parking provision is also included as part of the proposals, which have now been given the go-ahead.

Alterations will also be carried out to allow the provision of toilets and kitchen catering facilities.

It is intended the upper ground floor of the existing outbuildings will be the focus for “conferences, weddings  and other functions”.

According to the submissions to council, Tullymurry House currently provides tourist accommodation, while the outbuildings – which are partially vacant and used for storage – are set away from the main building.

The change to conference centre/wedding venue could see the new development capable of catering for about 110 guests, but an outdoor area will be kept clear just in case a particular event requires more.

A small number of jobs could be created too.

According to a design and access statement, the development is necessary to ensure the long-term future of operations at Tullymurry House.

It states: “When the current owners inherited Tullymurry it was in a poor condition but they recognised both the significance and potential of the property.

“Since then the main house has been sensitively restored and the outbuildings have been well-maintained to contribute to the overall setting of Tullymurry House; this, however, has required the investment of considerable time and money by the owners.

“The house is currently managed in conjunction with the Irish Landmark Trust to provide self-catering holiday accommodation. While this assist with some of the running costs and ongoing maintenance of the property, it is neither sufficient nor sustainable for the future.

“In order to maintain the current standards of the property the owners feel it is important to utilise the assets of Tullymurry House so that it can help contribute to its own upkeep.

“The aim of the proposed development is to make better use of the outbuildings and external spaces so that the long-term future of Tullymurry can be secured.”

According to the submission, a family wedding was held at Tullymurry House in 2016 and it was the “positive response” of the guests that gave the owners the idea to extend the use of the house and outbuildings to cater for similar events.

A barn on site is described as being in a “fragile condition” and it is not a feasible option at this time to make it open for public use. However, the component will be retained and it could be refurbished and put back up on site if the new venue should “prove successful and require additional accommodation”.

Approval has now been granted for the development which the applicant, in its design and access statement, had said would “help secure the upkeep and survival” of Tullymurry House, its outbuildings and grounds, but “without having a detrimental impact on the existing fabric and setting of the listed buildings and farmyard”.

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