Councillor Patrick Clarke stated: “Dundrum Castle believed to have been built in, or around 1177, with its majestic views overlooking Dundrum Bay to date has not reached its full tourist potential due to Castlehill which is a private road leading to Dundrum Castle never being adopted by DRD Roads Service.
“There is a very long and complex history to Castlehill going back many decades with Down District Council and DRD Roads Service both not wishing to take responsibility for the maintaining of the road leading to Dundrum Castle.
“A number of years ago funding was available through a number of funders and statutory agencies to consider environmental improvements including floodlighting Dundrum Castle landscaping, removing and cutting back overgrown trees.
“But with Castlehill remaining unadopted and confusion over who was directly responsible for the adjoining car park beside Dundrum Castle which was previously maintained by Down District Council until it was recently discovered that NIEA had actual responsibility prevented securing any grant funding and the environmental improvements moving ahead.
“Recently I held discussions with Mr Mark Mohan, Senior Tourisms Initiative Manager of Down District Council about the huge tourism potential surrounding Dundrum Castle and the economic impact which could be generated for Dundrum village and surrounding areas. We therefore both agreed that there were certain obstacles that needed to be overcome to progress matters.
“I indicated to him that as the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency under the Department of the Environment was responsible for Dundrum Castle that raising these matters directly with the Minister could perhaps help resolve some of the very long outstanding issues.
“I have therefore made written representations and raised the issue of Dundrum Castle and its huge tourism potential for Dundrum and the east coast of Down with the Environment Minister in conjunction with ongoing discussions with Mr Mohan, Senior Tourisms Initiative Manager of Down District Council.
“I will also be lobbying with any concerned statutory agencies and parties in order to work collectively which could help with the future of better promoting Dundrum Castle as a historical, environmental and tourist attraction and the eventual adoption of Castlehill.”