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Ardee Castle public consultation begins on Thursday

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Ardee Castle at night, as photographed by Conor McEneaney (2015).
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This article originally appeared on ThisIsArdee.ie

Locals will be able to have their say on the proposed refurbishment and access improvement works on Ardee Castle as of this week after Louth County Council published it’s proposals for the work.

The preliminary design work has been completed by the architects and the next step is for the county council to ‘seek planning permission under Part VIII of the Planning & Development Act 2000’. As with any planning application, members of the public will now get their chance to make submissions in relation to the redevelopment of Ardee Castle by way of a public consultation.

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As reported by ThisIsArdee.ie at the start of the month, the council have now given notice of their intention toc arry out refurbishment of the protected structure – work that will include the castle itself, Bridewell Block to the rear, the modern courtyard and the adjoining house known as the Judge’s Chambers.

The proposed works are to a National Mounment and protected structure and Ardee Castle falls under the Ardee Architectural Conversation Area (ACA) as designated in the Louth County Council Development Plan 2015-2021.

The refurbishment of Ardee Castle proposes to include:

  • Main entrance relocation to the adjoining building on Castle Street (Judge’s Chambers) to faciliate universal access.
  • New external lift to rear of Judge’s Chambers to serve ground and first floor.
  • New external fire escape stairs to rear of the Castle to serve ground and all upper floors.
  • Refubishment of the Castle, Bridewell Block at the rear, modern extension and adjoining Judge’s Chambers.
  • External areas developed to faciliate universal access and used for ramps and level changes.

Locals will get their chance to have their say on the plans from this coming Thursday (February 23rd). Plans and particulars will be available for inspection from Thursday until Thursday April 6th 2017 during normal working hours at both the Mid-Louth Civic Services centre at the Fair Green in Ardee and Town Hall in Dundalk.

Submissions or observations with respect to the proposed development may be made in writing to Eugene McManus, Administrative Officer, Infrastructure, Louth County Council, Town Hall Crowe Street, Dundalk. The closing date fo submissions is Friday April 21st 2017 at 5pm.

LCC say they will also have to seek ministerial permission for the works due to the castle being a national monument. Ministerial consent would come from the Department of the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltactht and Minister Heather Humphrey.

Once statutory permissions have been granted for work to go ahead, work on detailed design and tender documents will commence although this is ‘subject to funding being made available.’

ThisIsArdee.ie understand a Failte Ireland board meeting will take place later this month ahead of an announcement of funding which is expected to include news on Ardee Castle.

Officials at Louth County Council are believed to be confident in a positive outcome for Ardee Castle and should a significant portion of the funding be obtained, that means work could began on the building later this year pending a successful planning permission application.

In 2015, Louth County Council committed €1.2 million to Ardee Castle work but that money was mostly based on development levy income and is not currently in the council’s kitty. Should no funding be allocated by Failte Ireland the prospect of work on Ardee Castle would remain on hold.

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