Belfast Telegraph

Former Kincora boys’ home building on market for £375,000

By Mark Bain

An east Belfast property which once housed the notorious 1970s Kincora boys' home has been put up for sale.

Offers over £375,000 will be considered from potential developers for Linden House on the Upper Newtownards Road, the building formerly known as Kincora.

The home was set up in 1958 to provide full-time accommodation for boys aged between 15 and 18, but closed in 1980 following the scandalous exposure of serious wrongdoing by staff and others over a number of years.

Current owner of the property, Mr 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.

"After 2010 we formulated plans to refurbish the building.

"However, in April 2015 these plans were thrown into the air by statements made by Mr Peter Robinson, then First Minister, calling for the building to be 'razed' more than 40 years after its period of notoriety."

Mr Black said that 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.

"Consequently, we have decided to apply for planning permission for 12 apartments on the site and gauge interest from developers."

News of the sale came on the same day a law firm said Kincora should form part of official efforts to address the legacy of the Northern Ireland troubled past.

KRW Law 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 (HIA) inquiry.

The inquiry dismissed claims that senior politicians, civil servants and businessmen were complicit in a paedophile ring that operated at the home in the 1970s and for which three staff members were jailed.

Publishing the HIA findings in January, inquiry chairman Sir Anthony Hart said of Kincora: "It was not a homosexual brothel, nor was it used by any of the security agencies as a honey pot to entrap, blackmail or otherwise exploit homosexuals."

The retired judge added: "It is now time to finally lay these unfounded myths to rest."

But a statement from KRW said: "On his (Mr Kerr's) behalf, KRW is considering issuing legal proceedings over failings in the Kincora investigation by way of a judicial review.

"In addition to proposed legal proceedings, KRW will argue that the Kincora scandal must be considered as part of the legacy of the conflict."

The 2,299 sq ft property is listed by Frazer Kidd estate agents.

Belfast Telegraph

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