1851 gate lodge on Belfast to Bangor road saved from demolition
A stunning, yet sadly neglected, gate lodge seen by thousands of commuters every morning has been saved, it can be revealed.
Craigowen Lodge in Seahill has survived the threat of a proposed road widening scheme on the Bangor to Belfast dual carriageway, and now - after a decade-long campaign - its future has been secured.
The listed lodge was built in 1851. It was designed by Thomas Turner, a Dublin-born pupil of prominent architect Charles Lanyon.
It is a single-storey, three-bay lodge in an Italianate style.
However, it has suffered extensive vandalism and an arson attack a number of years ago. A tin roof was installed after the blaze to protect the inside of the property, which has three bedrooms.
The lodge was most recently acquired by the Roads Service for a road widening scheme that never materialised.
Now it has been revealed in an answer to an Assembly question asked this week by Alliance MLA Kieran McCarthy that the lodge's future has been secured.
Regional Development Minister Danny Kennedy confirmed that a housing association that specialises in restoring historic buildings is taking ownership of the lodge.
"My department is in the final stages of disposing of Craigowen Lodge to Hearth Housing Association, who plan to refurbish this B1 listed building for future sale on the open market," he said.
"Such an acquisition by Hearth Housing Association is in keeping with the public sector disposal guidelines and is considered the best way of ensuring the protection and re-instatement of this listed building.
"In line with the good practice outlined in Northern Ireland Environment Agency's protocol for the care of Government historic sstate, my department - having sought advice from NIEA's conservation architects - has carried out certain works on the property in order to maintain it until it is sold."
Hearth Housing Association was formed in 1976 and has charitable status for the restoration, for housing purposes, of modest dwellings of architectural significance in Northern Ireland.
It was set up by the National Trust and Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, both of which continue to support it.
Some of the other projects it has been involved in restoring into homes include the Glenarm School House in Co Antrim, Clifton Villas in north Belfast, Rose Cottage in south Belfast, and Annahilt Almshouses in Co Down.