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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

May 2012 right left

 
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02

Introduction to Water Beetles

Thursday 3rd May
Peatlands Park, Dungannon
£10

Antrim Castle Gardens, a Premier Heritage Site

Friday 4th May
Monuments and Buildings Record Public Reading Room, Waterman House, Hill Street
Free

Spring Plant Fair

Saturday 5th May
Rowallane Garden
Normal Admission, Members Free

Bluebell Walk

Saturday 5th May
Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House
Normal Admission, Members Free

Rare Breeds Poulty Fair

Saturday 5th May
Florence Court
Normal Admission, Members Free, Seperate charge for sellers.

Minnowburn Dander

Saturday 5th May
Minnowburn
No charge, donations welcome

Car Boot Sale

Saturday 5th May
Mount Stewart
Car £5, Van £10, Trailer £15

Spring Garden Walk

Saturday 5th May
Mount Stewart
Adult £10, Child £5

Dawn Chorus and Poultry Fair

Saturday 5th May
Springhill, Moneymore
Normal Admission, Members Free

Spring in is the Air

Sunday 6th May
Murlough NNR
Normal Admission, Members Free

Cot Trips

Monday 7th May
Crom
Adult £4, Child £2

08

The Academy of Urbanism Annual Congress

Wednesday 9th May
Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin on first day
See registration from

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11
12

Himalayan Balsam Control

Sunday 13th May
Lagan Valley Regional Park near Drum Bridge
Free

Bloomin Brilliant

Sunday 13th May
Ardress House
Normal Admission, Members Free

14

Wild about Nature – Dawn Chorus

Tuesday 15th May
Castle Ward
Adult £7

The Archaeology of Slieve Donard A Cultural Biography of Ulsters Highest Mountain, by Sam Moore

Tuesday 15th May
Tollymore Outdoor Centre
Free Talk, Book £10

16
17

Evening Walk along the Lagan Canal at Lisburn

Friday 18th May
Lagan Canal at Lisburn
Free

Bio Blitz 2012

Friday 18th May
Crawfordsburn Country Park
Free

New Light on the Vikings in Ireland

Friday 18th May
Down County Museum
£20

Spring Dunes

Saturday 19th May
Portstewart Strand
Adult £2, Child £1

Grand Garden and Craft Fair 15th Anniversary

Saturday 19th May
Mount Stewart
Normal Admission, Members Free

Titanic The Springhill Story Book Fair Special

Sunday 20th May
Springhill, Moneymore
Normal Admission, Members Free

An Introduction to Wildflowers

Sunday 20th May
Crom
Adult £4, Child £2

Country Fair

Sunday 20th May
The Argory, Moy
Normal Admission, Members Free

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Behind the Scenes Meet Mary Ward

Friday 25th May
Castle Ward
Adult £7

Stationary Engine Club

Saturday 26th May
Pattersons Spade Mill
Normal Admission, Members Free

Banks of the Ballinderry Fair

Saturday 26th May
Wellbrook Beetling Mill
Normal Admission, Members Free

Plant Propagation

Sunday 27th May
Knockbraken Healthcare Park, Belfast
Free

Archaeological Day

Sunday 27th May
Divis and the Black Mountain
Adult £3, Child £3

Music in the Garden

Sunday 27th May
Mount Stewart
Normal Admission, Members Free

From Crossan to the Acre

Monday 28th May
Lecture Theatre, School of Geography, Elmwood Building
Free

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Athletic Stores Demise 20 April 2012

Attwood exhausts all options to save Athletic Stores site

After an exhaustive assessment of all issues from every angle, DOE Planning has given planning permission for retail and residential development on the Athletic Stores site.

The Environment Minister Alex Attwood has concluded this is, with regret, the better way to proceed.

The existing building on the site is vacant apart from the Athletic Stores. The new development will replace it. The Minister has exhaustively considered options to save the existing building which is not listed but is in a Conservation Area.

The building has serious structural flaws and is leaning into the street. It has been concluded that foundations and structure could not be refurbished to provide units for modern living and working. Many heritage campaigners accept that the entire building cannot be saved and converted to give it a useful life.

The option to retain the facades fronting the streets with a new building behind have been considered. The necessary works would affect character and would not be financially viable. This option has been assessed at length but this is the conclusion unfortunately that has been drawn.

Alex Attwood said: “I said that I would ‘call in’ the papers on the Athletic Stores application. I did. I interrogated the Belfast Planning Team on the application. I asked for facts and figures to be produced and tested. I visited the location twice and on the second occasion I invited representatives from the Ulster Architectural Historical Society to join me. I wanted to demonstrate that any decision – whatever its nature – was made, having looked at the issue from every side.

In the final analysis, I conclude that the planning decision for a retail and residential development is the better one unfortunate though that is. I have worked to see if the building, even the façade, could be saved. It has been a hard decision but I believe the better one. In coming to this view, I have been mindful of the risky state of the building, the unhealthy state of the property market and the disproportionate and uneconomic costs to even save the facade.”

Alex Attwood added: “This decision has preoccupied me, given the commitment to preserving our built heritage, trebling the threshold for listed buildings grants, investing in Carlisle Memorial Church and the Dry Dock in Titanic Quarter, spotlisting and serving Urgent Works Notices. I don’t come to this decision lightly but I consider it the better way to proceed.

“Decorative features of the existing building will be salvaged; the new project will be a boost to this central Belfast location, which has been in an increasing state of decline.”

In further highlighting why the reasons for the decision the Minister continued: “Let me outline further what would have happened had this planning application been turned down. Normally, we expect owners to place empty buildings on the open market in conservation areas. But existing buildings have lay empty in this area for years and no developer, especially in the present economic climate, will likely invest in a building where it is more expensive to refurbish than to knock down and rebuild. This is the hard reality of the market at present. I had to be decisive, reduce further decline and try to move the area forward.

This is the context for a difficult decision, one reached with regret, after looking at the application from every side.