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Poots gives historic mill reprieve from demolition

Part of a historic Co Down mill has been ‘spot listed’ by Environment Minister Edwin Poots to protect it from possible demolition.

Building preservation notices have been drawn up for a number of industrial buildings in the former Liddell’s Mill complex, including the chimney and cricket pavilion, which have been identified as important structures likely to be of special architectural and historical interest.

The notices will protect the structures as listed buildings for up to six months, allowing the Northern Ireland Environment Agency time to carry out detailed research and consultation — at the end of this period it will have to decide whether the listing should become permanent.

To be spot listed, the building must be of special architectural and historic interest and must be in danger of demolition or of alteration in such a way as to affect its character as a building of such interest.

The mill is the oldest industrial site in Donaghcloney, dating back to the 18th century. It was the centre of village life from its expansion in the early 19th century to its closure a few years ago.

Mr Poots said: “Our built heritage is important and should be protected. Early indications are that these buildings are particularly noteworthy. They represent a significant part of the development of Donaghcloney and have a social history linked to many of the local families. Some of the other buildings on the site have been agreed for demolition through the planning process.

The DoE said that given their potential importance it is prudent to protect these buildings and fully research their interest.

“NIEA now has six months to consider these buildings in detail before deciding whether to proceed with permanent listing. The Historic Buildings Council and the local council will be formally consulted during this time,” a spokesman said.

Building Preservation Notices were introduced for the first time in 2003 to protect historic buildings which are in danger of demolition or major alteration.

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