“The [NI Environment] minister sought to clear a lot of business before leaving office…”

The BBC reports that concerns have been raised by the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society at the Northern Ireland Environment Minister, the DUP’s Edwin Poots’, apparent haste in seeking to have Ballyloran House, Larne, delisted by the non-independent NI Environment Agency before he leaves office on May 5.  From the BBC report

The Ulster Architectural Heritage Society has said it is concerned by the timing of the move.

“I can’t really understand the haste,” the society’s John Anderson said.

“I would have thought that possibly it must be to do with a strong lobby coming from somewhere.”

He added: “There are standard procedures to be followed, there is a normal timescale to be followed I would hope that everything in relation to planning policy and the various policy statements dealing with this kind of thing are followed to the letter as they should be in any case.”

Mr Anderson said that while the house had fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years “given the right buyer I’m sure the house would be restored to its former glory”.

At least one DUP MLA has been lobbying the minister, on 23 March this year, and the owner appears to want to redevelop the site as “a retirement village”.

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  • The Raven

    And who might the owner be, now?

    Hmmm. DUP minister -> developer -> activity flying in the face of policy and planners’ advice. Why is this a recurring theme?

    I am mid-way through compiling some FOIs on NIEA’s activity to protect listed buildings. Some of this will make for very interesting reading when I am done, especially when the dots are joined between some developers and some NIEA staff.

    My substantive point is that the very last thing anyone with an interest in either built or natural environment should do, is rely on the current minister or his agency to act in the interests of either.

  • Cynic2

    Will it be knocked down by Monday? Who is the owner?

    And its not just Poots.

    http://www.alastairross.org/public/article.aspx?id=174

    East Antrim DUP MLA Alastair Ross yesterday met with the Environment Minister Edwin Poots about Ballyloran House in Larne. The site has sadly been subjected to vandalism in recent years, and has become a hotspot for antisocial behaviour. Commenting from Larne this morning, Mr Ross said,

    “Over the past number of months I have been contacted by a number of local residents who were concerned about antisocial behaviour at the site, and that the area will become an eyesore if it is left the way it is.
    ……..

    On Wednesday morning I met with the DoE Minister, the owner of the site, Planners and the NIEA to discuss options for the site, and whether the owners vision for a retirement village could be realised. Clearly the huge investment, employment opportunities and indeed the fact that a retirement village would cater for a growing need in Larne is to be welcome, but we must also be cognisant of the views of local residents.

    I have therefore asked local residents for their view, and would hope that we can move the site forward in a way that will meet the needs and aspirations of people in the local area.”

  • Cynic2

    Actually to be fair Poots hasn’t done anything other than write to the Agency asking that they CONSIDER de listing. That is probably just a desk clearing exercise in case he doesn’t get back into his post

    Why there is such a lobby to delist is another thing.

    Still we don’t want all these houses cluttering up the country costing decent folk money to maintain them. Far better to knock ’em down and build some nice new retirement apartments.

  • Angry Planner

    Raven, you might also want to submit an FOI request to see Poots’ instructions and all correspondence addressed to him on planning application P/2007/1296/F.

  • jthree

    P/2007/1296/F

    Lands adjacent and north of 109 Glen Road, Glenn, Newry.

    Erection of housing development comprising 4 pair of semi detached houses, 2 blocks of 3 No.townhouses, 3 blocks of 4 No.townhouses, 1 block of 2 apartments, 1 block of 4 apartments, 2 townhouses with attached block of 4 apartments (Total number of units 38)

    Applicant – T.E. Graham and Sons

    http://www.tegraham.com/

  • The Raven

    Gentlemen, if there is truly something worth following up here, could you please drop me a line at the__raven@hotmail.com

    Many thanks.

  • Mick Fealty

    TR,

    Let us know how you get on?