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Kilmore Cottage may be saved as plans submitted for ‘refurbishment, alteration and extension’

'Over the next few years, and without significant intervention, a point will be reached where health and safety risks and costs will prohibit a scheme of conservation entirely'

Kilmore Cottage

An historically significant building in Kilmore could be set to undergo a major transformation that would see many of its original features restored to their former glory – in a space to be enjoyed by the entire community.

Plans recently submitted to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, by McCollum Conservation, on behalf of Kilmore O’Neill Trust, outline the proposed refurbishment, alteration and extension of 66 Kilmore Road – the site of local landmark, Kilmore Cottage.

The cottage, which has been the subject of several restoration-focused fundraising campaigns in the last number of years, has been part of the fabric of the Kilmore area since approximately 1707.

Locals and community groups have keenly expressed their desire to see life breathed back in to the previously thatched property – literally and figuratively.

Related: Co Armagh man hoping to breath new life into historic Kilmore Cottage

In a prior interview with Armagh I, Conor Sandford, Chair of the Kilmore O’Neill Trust, said: “We had the condition survey, the building is just hanging on but much longer and it is not going to survive. A lot of people have said it would be lovely to see the thatch roof back on and people living on it.”

According to the plans, the people of Kilmore may about to be granted their wish.

Related: Fight to save vacant 17th Century Co Armagh cottage continues

Aside from the ‘refurbishment, alteration and extension’ of the existing cottage for reinstatement of former dwelling use, the site will also see the demolition of two vacant, derelict buildings on site, the erection of two new buildings on site for community and shop uses respectively, alongside provision of a new community park for public use.

According to the design statement, the intention for Kilmore Cottage is to “restore the cottage to its former residential use, for the purpose of leasing the cottage as private residential accommodation”.

It is envisaged that the two new buildings will provide an ‘Agile Community Unit’ equipped for flexible use as a meeting facility for locally based groups for a variety of purposes, formal or informal and a ‘Commercial Unit’ for lease to a “small business concern”.

As Kilmore Cottage is categorised as a grade B1 listed building, care will be taken to enhance and restore the building in a way that reflects its original appearance including rendering using ‘a hydraulic lime rough cast, and limewashed white’ and window and door openings ‘generally being retained’.

However, despite the design statement noting that “remnants of a straw thatch remain” the roof proposed for the restored Kilmore Cottage will be of corrugated iron, as per the existing.

And, these plans may be coming in the nick of time.

The design statement adds: “Condition of the cottage has deteriorated beyond a point where repair is uneconomical without grant aid. Over the next few years, and without significant intervention, a point will be reached where health and safety risks and costs will prohibit a scheme of conservation entirely.”

The application is due to be advertised shortly.

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