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Church seeks to demolish listed building because cost to repair or replace too high

Barn at rear of Keady rectory posing "severe health and safety risk"

A Co Armagh church is seeking approval to demolish a listed building because the cost of replacing or repairing it is “beyond what the parish can allow for”.

The building in question is an outhouse – a two-storey barn – and is in the ownership of St Matthew’s Parish Church in Keady.

Located to the rear of the rectory on the Crossmore Road, the church had employed the services of a professional engineer to compile a structural report on the property.

It describes the building as a “double-storey barn with loft over, random rubble stone and brick walls, traditional ‘cut’ timber rafters and Bangor Blue slates to roof”.

All walls are described as being in “poor condition”; in addition, “various cracks are apparent and the front wall is leaning outwards”. This is due to “lateral pressure from the roof” and, according to the report, would “have to be taken down”.

Roof timbers, floor joists, purlins would also need to be replaced, while wooden lintels need to be replaced with concrete lintels.

The engineer’s report concludes: “The barn in my opinion is in extremely poor structural condition and would constitute a severe health and safety risk to anyone living in the adjacent building.

“The barn should be demolished because the cost of remedial works would not be cost effective in relation to provision of a new replacement barn.”

Off the back of the report, the Select Vestry of St Matthew’s Parish Church is seeking Listed Building Consent for the demolition.

It has made a formal application to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to tear down the “detached outhouse” to the rear of the Rectory.

It has written to council stating: “The outhouse has fallen into considerable disrepair. It is of no practical use and adequate garage provision is offered by other outhouses attached to the Rectory.

“The financial burden in making this building useful again is beyond what the parish can allow for.”

The application will be publicly advertised this week and considered by council planning officials.

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