Lochside Garage

Development of derelict estate ‘could take years’

IT COULD take years before anything is done with the Necarne Estate, it has emerged, with any development currently cloaked in uncertainty.
The historic nature of the castle, as well as the estates rich woodland and wildlife, are restricting plans to develop it, according to Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
Gardrum Holdings, owned by Dromore man Derek Keys, won the contract to lease the estate last year after the Council put it out to tender. Gardrum has since been holding talks with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), and the Department of Communities Historic Environment Division, about developing it.
As owners of the estate, and responsible for planning, the Council have also been taking part in these talks.
In its Corporate Services and Governance Directors Report, the Council have revealed the difficulty with development and the uncertainty over what can be done with the Irvinestown beauty spot. It has said it could now take years for anything to be done.
“The response from the Historic Environment Division has highlighted the potential of numerous restrictions on development stemming from the protection of the site’s original design, quality and setting,” the report states.
The archaeological, historical and botanical interest of the site, its trees and woodland, historic views from the site and buildings, are all among the features the Council have said must be considered before development commences.
“There is a view that in the long term the castle should be fully restored and brought into viable use but no clarity as to what period should inform the restoration,” according to the report, delivered at the May meeting of the policy and resources committee.
“It is evident from the protracted nature of these discussions to date that any significant development proposal is likely to take some time, probably years, to progress.
“Therefore, the Council has asked Gardrum to confirm their proposals for a short, medium and long timeframe, considering the likely timescales for any development proposals.
“This proposal should also address the issues raised from a community perspective and may form the basis of further consultation.”
The Council have said they expect this proposal to be submitted within four-six weeks.
Earlier this year the people of Irvinestown said they were still in the dark about the future of the estate, months after a public meeting had been held on the issue locally.
The Necarne Estate is currently open to members of the public, and is a popular local walking spot. The Council have previously stated it aims to retain this public right to walk on its grounds.


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