Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council’s planning committee has approved the replacement of a replica Iron Age structure at Navan Fort.
Lodged by Whittaker and Watt Architects on behalf of the council, the application seeks permission to erect a replacement iron age structure for educational purposes at lands 50m west of the Navan Centre and Fort at 81 Killylea Road.
The site at present has an existing replica of an Iron Age house its walls are constructed of woven hazel and it has a thatched roof. This structure is used as an educational tool as part of the Navan Centre fort experience and it is proposed to replace the structure with a new replica constructed in the same manner, with the same materials for the same purpose.
Permission is also sought to construct associated fencing and site works.
The proposed 1,800mm high timber security fence will be formed using driven rough logs to prevent damage and access to dwelling and educational zones.
According to the application form, this new building on the 0.05 hectare site, will see additional floor space created on site.
At present there is a total gross floor space of 31.3m2, which equates to 27m2 net floorspace. When this work is finished, the gross floorspace will increase to 38.7m2 and the net floor space will be 34m2.
The work is not expected to increase either the number of vehicles or people that attend the site on a daily basis. At present, no vehicles attend the site and a total of 30 people, one employee and 30 others, attend the site on a daily basis.
As this will be a ‘like for like’ replacement, officers are of the opinion it will not harm the rural character, landscape quality or the environmental integrity of the local area.
No objections have been raised in relation to the proposal and, having taken all matters into consideration, the council’s planning officers have recommended planning permission is granted.
Commenting on the application, the committee’s Chair, Alderman Gareth Wilson said, he “could see its merits”.
“As an old Armagh City and District Councillor, I can see the merits of protecting the heritage and ensuring that we have a good suitable visitor attraction at Navan Fort,” he said.
“I would be fairly content with the replacement and ensuring there is continuance of the visitor attraction at the site for more years to come.”
The committee’s vice-chair, Councillor Kevin Savage said in he was agreement with Alderman Wilson.
“I totally agree with what you have said, I am surprised the current structure is still standing,” said Cllr Savage.
“There was a council visit to the site a few years ago and as was pointed out, the roof and the side of the structure are not in great shape. I think this is something we will have to support to keep the show on the road at the Navan Fort.”
A proposal to approve the application was put forward by Alderman Wilson and seconded by Councillor Peter Lavery who welcomed the proposal as a “long overdue bit of improvement work” at this “very important historical site”.
“The improvements will ensure that future generations will be able to experience the history of site and appreciate its significance without having the fear of the roof collapsing down round them so I am content to second the proposal.”