Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke has welcomed the intervention of the Department of the Environment (DOE) which has now served an Urgent Works Notice (UWN) on the owner of 119 – 121 Main Street, Dundrum, a pair of listed buildings on a key tourist route to the Mournes.
The pair of conjoined urban vernacular listed buildings is key constituent parts of the heritage of Dundrum village and, despite repeated attempts by Councillor Patrick Clarke, Down District Council and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) to encourage the property owner to take action, no works have been carried out.
The Department of the Environment has now issued a notice which outlines the action it will take to carry out emergency works if the owner does not initiate these within seven days. The notice is one of a number planned this year across Northern Ireland following the heritage crime summit.NIEA had tried repeatedly to encourage the owner to take action. Three formal warning letters were issued since May 2011 and an Urgent Works Notice under article 80 was issued on 14th February. The owner now has seven days to carry out works to secure the building. After this time, if works have not commenced, the Department will carry these out, and seek recovery of costs from the owner.
Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke stated”Since 2009 I had been working very closely with the Northern Ireland Environmental Agency and also Building Control of Down District Council to encourage the owner of 119/121 Main Street in Dundrum to carry out urgent repairs to ensure that the vacant buildings did not further deteriorate into worse decline.
“The historic buildings which were listed in July 1980 have been vacant for many years, and despite repeated attempts by myself, Down District Council and NIEA requesting the cooperation of the property owner to carry out works to prevent further deterioration of the adjoining properties, actions were not forthcoming from the owner.
“Efforts to secure the building were carried out by Down District Council, although these were of a temporary nature and the properties continued to remain open to the elements and were continuing to deteriorate.
“The large wooden hoarding which had been erected around 119-121 Main Street back in March 2009 was put in place by Down District Council for the health and safety of pedestrians walking along Main Street, but was very unsightly and not aesthetically pleasing to the picturesque village of Dundrum.
“A number of site meetings did take place in June and November 2011 with NIEA, DDC, myself and the property owner to progress the matter, but these proved unsuccessful to reach a resolution to make the listed building safe in order to remove the large wooden hoarding.
“I now welcome finally the intervention by the Department of the Environment to serve an Urgent Works Notice (UWN) on the owner of 119-121 Main Street, Dundrum, giving a final opportunity to carry out works to 119-121 Main Street, after which if the works have not commenced, the Department of the Environment will carry these out, and seek recovery of the costs from the owner.
“The serving of the Urgent Works Notice will allow necessary works to be carried out to the listed building along Main Street in Dundrum and allow the large wooden hoarding which has blighted the Main Street since March 2009 to be finally removed returning a large segment of footpath and the Main Street back to its original state.