Sunday, 26 May 2013

Alliance plea to save the Millisle farm where Jewish children found refuge from Nazi Holocaust

Farm that saved hundreds of children
from holocaust must be saved

The Alliance Party has said the Environment Minister must give Kindertransport Farm,  Millisle, listed status - securing its future as one of Northern Ireland’s important historical sites.

Strangford MLA Kieran McCarthy and I have written to the Minister urging him to take action,  recognising Northern Ireland’s contribution to saving children’s lives during the Holocaust.

Kinderfarm / Ballyrolly House / Magills Farm
Picture courtesy of  Second World War in
Northern Ireland website


From 1938 to 1948 nearly 300 Jewish children were saved by passing through Magill’s farm on the Woburn Road Millisle, thanks to Kindertransport.  A garden recognising this link already exists in Millisle Primary School, while the book ‘Faraway Home’ - authored by Marilyn Taylor - details the Millisle Kindertransport farm story.  However only listed status will secure the future of the local site.

Kieran McCarthy said: “I am encouraged by the Environment Minister’s response, which details the latest listing query on Kindertransport Farm is still on-going. If listed status is granted the owners will be able to seek financial assistance to repair and restore the building under the terms of the Listed Building Grant-Aid Scheme.

“With the farm closely linked to the Holocaust and Northern Ireland’s contribution to saving up to 300 Jewish children, it is of vital importance that the buildings which saved the lives of so many are retained, repaired and restored for future generations to understand the horrors of the Holocaust and the ray of Hope NI provided at Magill’s farm.

I added: “Kindertransport Farm is an important part of Northern Ireland history.  After concerns were expressed about the state of the farm buildings, I contacted my Party colleague Kieran McCarthy who followed up on the issue with the Environment Minister.

“After two failed attempts over the years, I welcome the fact Kindertransport Farm is still under consideration for listed status.  The Alliance Party believes this is an essential move to secure its part in Northern Ireland’s war history.”

Article kindly covered by Belfast Telegraph on Friday 24 May 2013.

Alliance oppose Holywood Pay and Display Parking Plan

Holywood High Street - Google Streetview
Councillor Larry Thompson and I have expressed our opposition to plans to introduce on-street Pay and Display parking charges in Holywood after a recently published 2012 Roads Service Holywood Parking Report "recommends" a Pay and Display scheme be "considered in the main commercial streets in the town centre".

With Holywood Town Centre enjoying a relatively low vacancy rate and new businesses popping up in recent weeks, the last thing businesses and shoppers need is new charges to replace the 1 hour on street parking limit.


Free parking for up to one hour on Holywood's High Street and surrounding areas is extremely popular with shoppers who are aghast at these plans.


Also commenting on the issue, Councillor Larry Thompson said: "Holywood is succeeding due to the range of transport solutions already in place, including opportunity to travel by train, bus, and park off street in a car park or on Holywood's High Street.


"Charging people to park in the short stay spaces risks plunging the Town Centre into recession and must be stopped. A longer term approach must be taken, realising that money raised from the fees collected will be strongly overshadowed by a much larger loss of trade and ultimately jobs.


I urge Roads Service to abandon this recommendation. Traders need to be helped not hindered via punitive parking charges."

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Secure future for Cultra Station House within reach


I welcome news that a planning application for the restoration and conservation of Cultra Station House has been made with progress on track.
The disused Railway building has been under the control of Ireland's 'bad bank' NAMA, but could be turned into residential units - with its listed status protected - if the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's Built Heritage specialists give the proposals the go-ahead.
New plans for Cultra Station
Councillor Larry Thompson and I lobbied NAMA via Dominic Hannigan TD and were involved in facilitating the sale to protect the listed site. We are positive about the recent move and wish to highlight the valuable role played by the Holywood Conservation Group in securing the future of the site.
Councillor Larry Thompson said:"Cultra Station House is a historic site in our area and one which must be protected. Since discovering its future was under threat I have worked closely with Councillor Andrew Muir and the Holywood Conservation Group to ensure we don't lose another important piece of our heritage.
I welcome the news a planning application has now been made, which looks set to protect the building's listed status and restore the area to its former glory. I hope The Northern Ireland Environment Agency will be able to work with the applicant to ensure the former character of the building is best upheld, while allowing the new plans to progress.
I must also praise the work of the Holywood Conservation Society. Without their tireless work and campaigning we could not have guaranteed securing a stable future for Cultra Station House. The hours of hard work have been worth it and I want to commend everyone involved."
It is almost a year since the latest condition report on the building was released. At that time it was clear the former station house would need a lot work to restore it to its former glory. While we were aware last August a potential buyer was in talks to progress the site, it was unclear if this would achieve a positive outcome.
I welcome the news a sale is now within reach. Cultra Station House used to be a hub of activity in the area and it is fitting it will once again be of service to local residents.

Planning App References 
W/2013/0144/F and W/2013/0145/LBC