Belfast Telegraph

Building that housed Kincora Boys' Home is facing demolition

By Michael Sheils McNamee

Planning permission has been submitted to raze the building that once housed the notorious Kincora Boys' Home.

Located on the Upper Newtownards Road, the building was renamed Linden House in 1996.

An application has been submitted for the demolition of the building and its replacement by 12 two-bedroom apartments.

The site was put on the market in August with offers of over £375,000 invited.

Established in 1958 to provide full-time accommodation for boys aged between 15 and 18, Kincora closed in 1980 following the exposure of serious sexual abuse by some staff and others over a number of years.

Current owner Leslie Black, managing partner with Market Solutions (NI), said: "When we purchased the building in 1996 we found that the name had been forgotten by most of the new generation within the area.

"We invested a substantial sum in refurbishment and it was renamed Linden House from 1996, being used for our own marketing business.

"We also sub-let offices to a range of tenants.

"In over 20 years, we had only one visitor who called and was fully aware of the history of the building as a boys' home."

Mr Black said there were plans to refurbish the building, but claimed these were compromised in April 2015 by comments from then First Minister Peter Robinson, who called for the building to be "razed" due to its history.

A series of protests followed and the new focus on the building led him to decide to put the redevelopment plans on hold.

"We no longer consider that retention of the existing building with the planned development is commercially attractive due to its history having been thrust back into the public eye," he added.

Meanwhile, KRW Law has argued the Kincora scandal should be addressed as part of the Northern Ireland Office's consultation on dealing with legacy issues.

The firm represents Richard Kerr, who alleges he was abused by "very powerful people" with links to Kincora and does not accept the conclusions of the four-year Historical Institutional Abuse Inquiry.

The inquiry dismissed long-standing claims that senior politicians, civil servants and businessmen were complicit in a paedophile ring at Kincora during the 1970s.

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