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New owner sets out plans to bring back the grandeur of centuries-old Castle Upton

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Castle Upton in Templepatrick

Castle Upton in Templepatrick

Castle Upton in Templepatrick

The new owner of stunning Castle Upton has submitted a planning application to restore the 400-year-old building to its former glory.

Among the proposed works to be carried out to the historic building in Templepatrick, Co Antrim, are the replacement of the existing roof and reinstatement of the original architectural features of the house.

The application includes the restoration of the castle's towers and crenellations removed in the early 1900s.

Extensive work is also to be carried out on the gardens, with plans to rip out the tennis courts at the rear of the Grade A-listed building and the creation of a series of formal gardens, while the existing lake will also be renovated and enlarged.

Castle Upton was home to former UUP MP Danny Kinahan and his wife Anna until last year, when it was purchased by Terry Hughes.

The 10,415 sq ft castle, set in 21 acres of picturesque farm and woodland, was constructed in part during the early 1600s but has evolved over the years and owes its current appearance to two major refurbishments.

The first of these, in the late 1700s, was designed by Robert Adam, the influential Georgian architect, and the second refurbishment was designed by Edward Blore, who also worked on the completion of Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace, and was carried out in 1840.

Castle Upton was put on the market in 2016 after Mr and Mrs Kinahan made the decision to downsize, but it failed to attract a buyer until April last year. However, it is believed the house was not sold for the listed asking price of £1.35m.

A planning application for a wide-ranging series of works to Castle Upton and surrounding gardens was subsequently submitted to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council last month.

According to the document, the existing pitched slate roofs and eaves details will be removed and new slate and lead-pitched roofs will be built, while water-damaged flat roofs will be replaced and recovered.

It continues: "The features that contribute to the significance, particularly the windows, doors, towers and stonework, will be subject to sympathetic repair and refurbishment where required.

The plans stress that materials such as lime render will be used in keeping with the features of the building.

Existing windows and doors are also to be removed for inspection and will only be replaced when refurbishment cannot be carried out to the required standard.

They will be replaced "like for like where necessary". Existing fireplaces will be retained as far as possible, while there are also plans to carry out works to the grand hall, main staircase and gallery which are said to have "deflected over the years".

The planning application continues: "It is proposed to carefully replace structural elements to prevent a further decline in the condition of these important features.

"The stair handrail and balustrading is also in very poor condition, perhaps due to the amount of movement in the stair.

"A new handrail designed to match the existing and 'like for like' will be fitted."

With regards to the proposed extension to the building, the new owner is requesting permission from council planners to construct a new master bedroom.

"The loss of Robert Adam's upper level bedrooms to the north west wing during the decline of the castle in the 1920s and subsequent rebuilding of the wing by the Kinahans in 1963 accounts for the current form of this part of the building," revealed the planning application.

"The alterations to the facade and original window positions can be clearly seen through the external render.

"The flat roof, last repaired between 1977 and 1981, is currently in a poor state of repair with evidence of multiple leaks into the ballroom below.

"Reinstating a bedroom wing above the ballroom reflects Adam's intentions for the building and adds further flexibility by adding a master suite appropriate for the type and size of the property."

Prior to the sale of the home, Mr Kinahan opened the grounds of the estate to the public each year for the annual 'Big Picnic Lunch' event, which raised money for charity.

Hundreds of people flocked to the events to enjoy live music, face-painting and a vintage car exhibition in the impressive grounds.

In addition to extensive works to the interior and structure of the home, the new owner is also planning to redevelop the gardens, taking the approach of restoring them in harmony to how they originally looked.

The new owner of the building also intends to undertake a management exercise aimed at removing poor-quality trees and shrubs.

Meanwhile, parkland at the front of Castle Upton will be opened up, with views of the house enhanced by the removal and thinning of trees and shrubs at the top of the residence's drive.

Belfast Telegraph