Belfast Telegraph

Planning application submitted to demolish notorious east Belfast Kincora boys' home

A planning application has been been submitted to demolish Kincora boys' home, the site of a series of sexual abuse allegations dating back decades.

Located on the Upper Newtownards Road, the building was renamed Linden House in 1996, and an application for planning permission has been submitted for the demolition of the building and the construction of 12 apartments.

Details of the proposed construction work have been posted on the planning portal, accessible through Belfast City Council's website.

Plans posted show each of the 12 apartments would have two bedrooms, and would see the site become residential, changing from its current use as offices.

Plans for the new site have been drawn up by ALDA Architects.

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

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."

Mr Black said plans to refurbish the building were formulated in 2010, but these were compromised in April 2015 by comments from then First Minister Peter Robinson, who called for the building to be "razed".

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," he said.

KRW Law has argued Kincora 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 (HIA) inquiry.

The inquiry dismissed long-standing 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.

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