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Environment agency protects seven threatened historic buildings

Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) today stepped in to protect seven historic buildings at risk of demolition.

The Agency confirmed that Building Preservation Notices (BPN’s) have been served on The Valley, 15 Valley Road, Crevilly Valley, Ballymena, Co Antrim and six houses at 1-6 Harker’s Hill, Cornascriebe Road, Portadown.

BPNs, often referred to as ‘spot listing’, were introduced for the first time in 2003 to protect historic buildings which are in danger of demolition or major alteration.

For a period of up to six months, the buildings will be protected as listed buildings, giving the Agency time to carry out detailed research and consultation. At the end of the period NIEA will decide if the structures should be permanently listed.

The Valley is a relatively small, one and a half storey picturesque early Victorian country house of c.1840 with a large, but well-mannered, single-storey extension of 1982. It is a well-preserved example of a small early Victorian country residence. Externally, its character has been maintained and internally, the layout is still discernible and most of the original detailing remains. Its mature garden provides a fitting setting to the house, and a large stable block adds to this. Properties such as this are an important element in the countryside, representing the rural aspect of Ulster's Victorian expansion.

The building has been threatened with demolition as part of a recent planning application which proposes to remove the building and replace it with a new house.

The six houses at 1-6 Harker’s Hill, a short distance to the West of Laurelvale in County Armagh, are a group of small Victorian, probably worker’s houses set in a terrace of four facing the other two across a ‘street’. The houses are of uniform design with simple early Victorian detailing of sliding sash windows, boarded doors, slated roofs and lime washed walls. The interiors are largely intact and the houses have group value and enjoy a largely unspoiled rural setting. This group is a rare example of a building type more commonly associated with large mills in urban situations.

The houses are also being threatened by a planning application for replacement dwellings that would result in their demolition.

Notes to editors:

1. Under the terms of a 2003 amendment to the Planning Order a building must satisfy two criterion to be temporally listed in this way: In the view of the Department the building must be of special architectural and historic interest; and it must be in danger of demolition or of alteration in such a way as to affect its character as a building of such interest.

2. Upon the evidence gathered to date the view of the Built Heritage Directorate of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency is that these buildings are likely to meet the special interest test.

3. NIEA now has six months to consider the buildings in detail before deciding whether to proceed with permanent listing. The Historic Buildings Council and the local council - as statutory consultees -will be formally consulted during this time.

4. All media inquiries should be directed to the Department of Environment Press Office on 028 9054 0003. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned