Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

An arresting des res up for sale in Northern Ireland

Evening all: the old police station in Hillsborough, Co Down

Fancy 'plodding' along in a £500,000 des res in one of Northern Ireland's most genteel locations?

The sale of the former PSNI station in Hillsborough, Co Down could be your chance to soak up the rarefied atmosphere of the handsome village with its hanging baskets and tearooms – while absorbing policing history.

For anyone aspiring to an even grander lifestyle, the station is a five-minute leisurely stroll from Hillsborough Castle, the residence of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and the Queen, when she is in town. It is also the location of summer garden parties.

The Lisburn Street station is one of more than 40 in Northern Ireland to be closed by the PSNI in a money-saving drive. The sale also includes a gate house and outbuildings on the 0.8acre site.

A PSNI spokeswoman said 43 of those put on the market have actually been sold.

According to a brochure for Hillsborough station, produced by selling agents BTWShiells, "the police station and some of the adjoining outbuildings are attractive period buildings which externally benefit from a rosemary clay roof, red brick and traditional sash windows".

Those hoping for a full prisoner/screw experience inside the building may be disappointed, however, as the station's holding cells have already been converted for storage.

Stuart Draffin, a director at BTWShiells, said: "This is a unique property in one of Northern Ireland's most sought-after locations.

"We expect it to attract interest from commercial and residential owner-occupiers, developers and investors. The property is in excellent condition internally and externally."

Ken McEntee and his artist wife Dawn Mitchell live in the former police barracks in High Street, where the village's Royal Irish Constabulary – later, RUC – officers were based until the present station was built in the 1930s.

While their home still has an old 18th century range and two cells in the basement, the present cop shop was a much more "ordinary" place, Mr McEntee said.

Nonetheless, people in Hillsborough would not relish the prospect of the newer building being knocked down.

"I would think they would be sad to see it go as it has been the police station since 1938," Mr McEntee said. "It's a 1930s style building but it's still quite attractive, and in 100 years' time, it will be an example of that era – in fact, it's the only example of 1930s architecture in Hillsborough."

Many of the village's best-known buildings dated back from the Georgian or early Victorian eras, Mr McEntee said.

BTWShiells' brochure contains suggestions on developing the property, such as building nine apartments or up to eight two storey semi-detached homes. But planning permission has not been sought for any of the proposals.

Hillsborough is described as "part of the commuter belt of Belfast," and is around 12 miles from the city centre.

It is also 25 miles from Newry, while Dublin is 90 minutes away.

factfile

The police stations which have been sold by PSNI since it introduced its policy of reducing its estate have gone on to a variety of uses. One station in Belcoo, Co Fermanagh, was knocked down to make way for social housing. A station in Newtownbutler, also in Fermanagh, was bought by Fermanagh District Council for redevelopment.

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