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Demolition work at historic Fivemiletown yard leads to fines of £21,000

By Linda Stewart

A property owner and building contractor have been fined a total of £21,000 after illegally demolishing part of a historic market yard.

The market yard at Fivemiletown had been ‘spot listed’ with a Building Preservation Notice, but part of it was demolished in March 2008, the Department of the Environment said in a statement.

Building Preservation Notices can be served on buildings of special or historic interest in danger of demolition, and they allow buildings to be protected for up to six months as if they were listed.

Keith George Trotter, owner of the former market yard, Main Street, Fivemiletown, pleaded guilty at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court to allowing the demolition of the buildings and was fined £15,000. The demolition firm, McAloon Contracts of Trillick, Co Tyrone, pleaded guilty and was fined £6,000.

“The Northern Ireland Environment Agency served a Building Preservation Notice on the market yard on February 29, 2008 which afforded temporary protection in a similar manner as if the buildings were listed,” a DoE spokesperson said. “However, when a member of Planning Service returned on March 4 2008 to re-inspect the site, the buildings had been demolished.”

Mr Trotter and McAloon Contracts Ltd pleaded guilty at Dungannon Magistrate’s Court on November 9, 2009.

At the time the yard was spot listed, a spokesman from Environment & Heritage Service said the buildings were particularly noteworthy because they retain many original features.

“They represent a significant part of the development of Fivemiletown and have social history for many of the local families,” he said. “The building has been threatened with demolition as part of a planning application which proposes to remove the buildings and replace with retail units and apartments.

“The yard, behind 73-75 and 77-79 Main Street, is constructed in part in very fine ashlar stone and in rubble stone. Before 1870, marketing activity centred on this market place located behind the former Petty Sessions building.

“The buildings were constructed in the mid-19th century by the Montgomery family as a market yard for the village of Fivemiletown. The former Petty Sessions building is already listed.

“Under the terms of a 2003 amendment to the Planning Order, a building must satisfy two criteria to be temporarily listed in this way.

“In the view of the department the building must be of special architectural and historic interest; and it must be in danger of demolition or of alteration in such a way as to affect its character as a building of such interest. Upon the evidence gathered to date the view of EHS Built Heritage is that the building is likely to meet the special interest test.”

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