Belfast Telegraph

Threat to our finest buildings underlined

Catalogue profiles properties at risk

By David Gordon

The threat to some of Northern Ireland's finest historic properties was today highlighted with the launch of a new Buildings At Risk catalogue.

The threat to some of Northern Ireland's finest historic properties was today highlighted with the launch of a new Buildings At Risk catalogue.

Gosford Castle in Co Armagh and Belfast's fire-gutted North Street Arcade are among about 100 buildings featured in the official publication.

The catalogue has been produced through a partnership between the DoE's Environment and Heritage Service (UAHS) and the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

A larger online register featuring more than 300 additional properties is also maintained.

The new publication - the seventh Buildings At Risk catalogue to be printed in the past 12 years - says that a plan to replicate the North Street Arcade is being explored.

But it warns that the future of the listed building and the surrounding Cathedral Quarter will remain uncertain until a Government-backed master plan for the area is completed.

The catalogue's Co Armagh section says concerns persist over plans to convert the listed Gosford Castle in Markethill into private homes.

It says that no work on this scheme has been done to date and planning approval has not been sought.

The castle is owned by the Department of Agriculture. The publication states that it has "suffered badly from neglect" and its roof structure has "collapsed in many places".

The new publication contains a "good news" section, featuring a range of successfully restored historic buildings.

The "bad news" chapter includes Derry's Tillie and Henderson factory, which was pulled down in 2003. The DoE was criticised last year after deciding not to initiate a prosecution over this demolition.

Other featured cases include properties at Market Square, Dromore, which were pulled down earlier this year and 1-7 Malone Place in Belfast which was demolished with DoE approval, despite a legal challenge from the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society.

UAHS chairman Peter Marlow today said approximately 25% of the buildings featured to date in Buildings At Risk catalogues have been saved.

"We are confident that this publication, and its sister volumes, will help to further the public's awareness of this important issue," he said.

Michael Coulter, director of the DoE's built heritage wing, said the catalogue would "help make the general public more aware of both listed and unlisted buildings at risk, as well as providing some good news and thought-provoking items".

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph