IT SEEMS THAT THE COUNCIL NOT ONLY ABANDONED THE COMMUNITY NEEDS, BUT ALSO THE CASTLE’S NEEDS!
FIVE YEARS AGO IT WAS RECOMMENDED THAT LOCAL NEEDS / DEMANDS BE ASSESSED AND CASTLE PASSED TO COMMUNITY USE TO SAVE IT – AND MAKING MONEY FROM SHOULD CASTLE SALE / LEASE NOT BE THE COUNCILS OBJECTIVE
Built Heritage At Risk Report on Necarne.
Click here for Built Heritage at Risk Report on Necarne Castle discussed below.
Ulster Architectural Heritage Society
Ulster Architectural Heritage Society’s, Built Heritage At Risk Northern Ireland’s Report on Options re Necarne Castle April 2011 (soon to be made available to you online) states;
“As current ownership rests with Fermanagh District Council, they too may be willing to consider funding of any proposals. It is also vital to explore more unconventional avenues for restoration and ownership such as COMMUNITY SHARES”
NIEA Historic Buildings Grant Aid would be available given the listed building status and the fact that the building finds itself currently residing on the BHARNI register means it is currently still entitled to grant aid. A range of other bodies such as Heritage Lottery Fund or Ulster Garden Villages might also be applicable….
The building is currently vacant, derelict, and its condition will inevitably deteriorate further. The longer this remains the case the higher any future restoration costs will likely be.
“it is Government policy that the maximisation of receipts should not be the overriding objectives in such disposals”
Northern Ireland Audit Office report ” Safe Guarding Northern Ireland’s Listed Buildings’ highlights the responsibility of government to maintain and protect historic listed buildings which they own and suggests that many have failed to “comply with a UK -wide protocol setting out requirements for reporting on the condition and maintenance of listed buildings that they own” In the case of Buildings at Risk, such as Necarne, this protocol should be followed and a plan put in place to ensure protection of such at risk buildings.
Restoration by Community Group
This obviously requires own capital expenditure or fund raising up – front, albeit with the possibility of grant aid, but own outlay could be recouped over time through full or partial rental of the building. To be sustainable it is highly recommended that a mixed use approach be taken balancing the need for COMMUNITY FACILITIES, ACCESS, and education with necessity to generate income to pay for running costs and upkeep of the building. Additionally this approach may be deemed, with careful lobbying, appropriate by Fermanagh District Council and some sort of transfer arranged. Again appropriate legal advice should be sought even at this stage.
The building could conceivably accommodate, in sympathetic manner, a range of uses such as residential, commercial or community use. The focus SHOULD PERHAPS REST WITH COMMUNITY USE IN THE CASE OF NECARNE…
The building can undoubtedly accommodate a core multi-purpose community facility for educational activities, talks, dances and even sports clubs. It could be available for hire and more long term leases. Perhaps a degree of synthesis with the approach of the existing facilities of the stables and equestrian centre should be the aim for any proposals. However it is clear that any suggested use should have to be strong enough potential to ensure viability of Necarne into the future.
As such a blend of more sustainable uses would seem to have best fit so not to rely too heavily on one use group.
RESEARCH SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN LOCALLY TO GAUGE DEMAND.
However whilst the principal use could be by the community, it is strongly recommended that a mixed use approach is pursued so to bring in a good income. Good business planning will be essential to attract significant grant aid.
See also this link to success stories of when Communities take over architectural heritage.
Saving Necarne Notes- It seems the writer of the report did not have a knowledge / awareness of the full health profile / needs/ demands/ statistics showing highest levels of disability and mental health well being needs in our community – nor the evidence of equine therapy being so successful in meeting physical and emotional needs, nor the realities of the needs of Riding for Disabled or equestrian, cycle, or running communities across this region. The health based needs and demands that exist in this region consequently creates the most sustainable base for any project involving the castle. It is certainly a more responsible, evidenced, realistic, and year round need, than the seasonal, currency exchange dependant, tourism. It was tourism needs that the council sought, and scored so highly in Expression of Interest process. Tourism could of course also be enhanced as part of a project that meets local needs. However this report rightfully acknowledges the need for local needs to be foremost in plans for the castle’s future, and the castle moved into possession of the community. Precisely what we were suggesting as the most appropriate move given that the Council neglected the castle and failed to ensure community needs were met, during the last time it held the freehold during a lease. The council refused / refused to support, so many pleas for access, despite it being written into the lease with Cafre.
This report supports our idea that Necarne should be passed to community for a community not for profit trust so all profits go back into the estate. Maximising receipts should not be the priority of the council in relation to Necarne – that goes against government policy. “an assured financial package” “deposits and bond” were all, like tourist needs, scored highly in the councils Expression of Interest process. This report shows the councils scoring system in relation to Necarne was not appropriate, sensitive or responsible and contrary to government policy in relation to our precious architectural heritage.
Historic Environment Division Report
In November 2016 at our request, a team of experts from Historic Environment Division visited Necarne you can read their report via the link below
Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes
6.16 Planning permission should not be granted for development that would lead to the loss of, or cause harm to, the overall character, principal components or setting of Historic Parks, Gardens and Demesnes.
We do not feel that the Council are respecting the value of the Castle, Parks, Garden or Demesne. We feel they are at risk at destroying the character of the estate by what they allow to happen at the estate. We feel an open process if vital so all of these issues can be raised with Councillors.