Sunday, 28 February 2016

Historic Gate Lodge ready for restoration

Councillor Muir at Craigowen Lodge
Work is moving ahead to restore an historic Gate Lodge which has been left abandoned for many years due to an aborted road improvement scheme along the busy Belfast to Bangor road. Planning Permission has now been granted for redevelopment with transfer of ownership and a funding application underway to enable works to commence.

I welcome this news after campaigning to secure a brighter future for the building over the last number of years.

Designed by Thomas Turner, a pupil of Sir Charles Lanyon, Craigowen Lodge was built in 1851 and sits close to the Seahill junction on the A2 dual carriageway between Cultra and Ballyrobert. Considered to be an example of the Italianate style of architecture, approximately 40,000 vehicles pass the dilapidated building each day with a tin roof now in place following an arson attempt a few years ago.  

 
I am delighted to report that full Planning Permission has now been granted for restoration of Craigowen Lodge. This is an important next step in the campaign to save the lodge after previously securing the support from the Regional Development Minister to transfer ownership to Hearth Housing Association.

Faced with almost certain destruction I previously arranged for my Alliance colleague Kieran McCarthy MLA to ask a series of questions at the NI Assembly on the matter and am glad to see matters moving ahead. After an initial expression of interest from Hearth Housing Association in 2011 a full Planning Application was then made and finally approved in late January 2016. Planning approval documents outline detailed plans to ensure careful restoration in keeping with the unique style of the building whilst also facilitating modern day use.

I would like to commend Hearth Housing Association for taking this project forward and have every confidence they will deliver an excellent job as renowned experts in restoring historic buildings. With the building in a perilous state it’s vital work continues apace. I will therefore continue to lobby and support efforts to realise the dream set out within the recently approved plans and hope funding and contractual matters can be sorted without delay.

Planning Permission Reference W/2015/0049/LBC (Craigowen Lodge, 208 Bangor Road, Holywood) Planning Application Description “Rehabilitation of existing derelict building as a house including the demolition of modern returns and creation of an extension with bedrooms, bathroom and kitchen to the rear of the property.”

The building was vested in the 1990s as part of a road improvement scheme which never materialised.

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