Hundreds of Walkers, as well as Runners, Cyclists, and Horse riders have used Necarne for decades as their recreation area. This community access must be protected. The current process by Council allows for the potential for a private investor to take over the estate and there is no protection in the terms of the current Expression of Interest process for these community needs. We are facilitating applications for Public Rights of Way by providing Rights of Way Applications forms and Maps to mark routes people use, via Mahon’s Hotel In Irvinestown. Watch our Facebook page for updates and advice. Please return completed Maps and Forms to Mahon’s Hotel.
Built Heritage at Risk doc that suggests Necarne Freehold should go to Community and all Community Needs should be Assessed to make sustainable future for Necarne Castle. For more information on this please go to the Castle at Critical List tab on this website.
Map of Necarne as put up for Lease by Fermanagh Omagh District Council (FODC) in 2016 necarn-estate-vector-ver-2
Castle Floor Plans supplied in Expression of Interest process (EOI) by FODC necarne-castle-floor-plans
Lease between Council Freeholder, and DARD Leaseholder, that showed Necarne was to be open throughout the year for recreational use and equestrian use, however many requests for local needs were still refused by Council and DARD after DARD left the site. The community were locked out despite £5 million of public funds being spent on the facility and Council ownership. However at least this lease protected community access and needs- the opposite of the new 2016 proposal
FODC Expression of Interest (EOI) Doc showing how EOI are scored / evaluated by Council. (Broadly) – Top marks for each of – amount of Rent Paid to council (25%) Business case and Assured Financial Package (15%) How much of property used (20%) How many jobs created from Tourism (20%) Aligned with Council aims (10%) The highest ££s Deposit paid (5%) The highest £££s Bond paid (5%) (Zero score for Community needs, health wellbeing, equestrian use it was funded for, or plan to save Castle from falling.) Also states “Fermanagh and Omagh District Council does not bind itself to accept any submission, and it reserves the right to select the most advantageous proposal for the district”.
Answers given to Questions asked in the Expression of Interest process Sept 2016. There is no requirement for any equestrian use- this may be abandoned, there is no requirement to save the castle, no requirement to hold any equestrian or any other community events, no requirement to allow any access for walkers, runners, or cyclists, or allow for any rights of way for community users, this lease could be for up to 100 yrs, (a condition survey is mentioned, but the council failed to complete this with the last tenant, DARD – council also failed to make DARD maintain Necarne in last lease). This does not protect community needs or castle despite over £5 million of public funds were spent on Necarne. Geared to potentially keep community out, and allow Private Investors to benefit Shareholders
We have also found that the Expression of Interest process in which the council made the decision to take a U turn from the last lease terms with DARD that kept Necarne open to recreational use and equine use, (even though they did not allow it as they should- it was, at least, in place), whereas in answers to questions they showed, for this new lease, they were allowing a lock down on community access and use as well as equestrian use to be abandoned. In such a process any scoring system dictates the outcome the council want. They scored it broadly for money, tourism and jobs from tourism. This decision to not score for quality of life for community, for quality places for community etc as per their Corporate Plan which you can view here. fodc-corporate-plan-2015-19-4
It also is contrary to the Draft Community Plan which opens for public consultation on Monday 3rd of October and sees a series of consultation meetings across the county.
http://www.fermanaghomagh.com/interim-community-planning-partnership-board-supports-draft-community-plan/ This plan aspires to improve wellbeing and protect cultural environment (castle). What we propose will create more sustainable jobs as its based on real need not fluctuating tourism.
- People and Communities: To improve the wellbeing of all our citizens and develop thriving rural and urban communities.
- Economy, Infrastructure and Skills: To create better employment opportunities for all by supporting the development and growth of a more productive local economy and better connected area.
- Environment: To promote positive action on climate change, sustainable management and enhancement of the built, cultural and natural environment.
Above link – Minutes of the Policy and Resources Committee
On the proposal of Councillor Wilson, seconded by Councillor McCaffrey, that the following matters be considered “In Committee”, as the reports contained information which was exempt from publication under the Local Government (Northern Ireland) Act 2014.
The Chief Executive reported that during Confidential Business the Committee considered:
- (i) A report on Confidential Staff Matters in relation to appointments, resignations,retirements and contractual amendments for career break and flexible
- (ii) A report on Confidential Property Matters in relation to Necarne Estate,Irvinestown and, following receipt of five Expressions of Interest, the Committee agreed to:
• Write to four of the proposers to inform them that the Council no longer
wished to pursue their Expressions of Interest;
• Continue engagement with Gardrum Holdings Ltd to allow for further
information and the development of a detailed business case to be presented to the Council for consideration on a timely basis and to allow for community engagement to be undertaken in parallel to the process; and
• Accept the request from Saving Necarne to present to the Council.
Councillor Wilson left the meeting during the above summary of Confidential