I welcome news an historic gate lodge is to be saved from potential destruction. Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy recently announced in response to an Alliance Assembly question that Craigowen Lodge, located on the main Belfast to Bangor road close to the Seahill Road junction, would be given to Hearth Housing Association with a view to securing its future.
The lodge had been purchased by Roads Service ahead of a proposed road-widening scheme that never occurred. The listed building suffered an arson attack several years ago, after which it had a tin roof installed for protection. It was designed by Thomas Turner, a pupil of Sir Charles Lanyon.
Craigowen Lodge is a building steeped in history and heritage, which deserves to be restored and protected as much as possible. Hearth Housing Association informed me in 2011 they wanted to renovate the building, so it is extremely welcome to see that work finally moving ahead.
Hearth specialises in restoring historic buildings, so the organisation is perfect to bring back Craigowen to its former glories. Our built heritage needs to be secured - they could provide much-needed social housing and used in general so future generations can enjoy them.