'More comprehensive' restoration work proposal for Kilwaughter Castle farm buildings

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An application for listed building consent has been submitted to Mid and East Antrim Borough Council for repairs and restoration of a group of listed farm buildings adjacent to Kilwaughter Castle.

The application has been lodged by Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd which owns some of the courtyard buildings and the adjacent limestone quarry. The site is located at Deerpark Road, outside Larne.

A report presented to council planners says Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd has previously carried out some repair works to the buildings closest to the castle. The company is now proposing “more comprehensive” conservation work to five buildings “in its ownership within the complex”, the report says.

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The partially derelict farm buildings, constructed between 1800 and 1819, are within the demesne of the castle and are surrounded by agricultural land.

Kilwaughter Castle. Pic supplied by Mid and East Antrim Borough CouncilKilwaughter Castle. Pic supplied by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Kilwaughter Castle. Pic supplied by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council

In the report, Kilwaughter Castle is described as “a ruined early 19th century house”, designed by architect John Nash, which contains part of a 17th century Plantation tower house. It is a Grade A listed building despite having been in “a ruinous condition” for many years and on the Buildings at Risk Register. Adjacent to the castle are two courtyards of farm buildings which are Grade B1 listed.

The main building, tower, eastern buildings of the central block and main building and historic pig house of the eastern block are in the ownership of Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd and are the subject of the proposed restoration works.

The statement notes: “Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd does not have ownership or control over the castle but recognises the importance of the estate courtyards. Over the years, Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd have maintained and kept in use the courtyard buildings it owns despite it not being part of its primary business.

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“The package of works constitutes a substantial built heritage conservation benefit by stabilising, repairing, restoring and conserving a significant group of listed buildings that form an important part of the setting of Kilwaughter Castle.

“Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd are willing to assist as they can in the future conservation of the castle and the other outbuildings, all in separate ownership.”

Last March, an extension to a quarry owned by Kilwaughter Minerals Ltd and mined since the 1930s was approved by council. The “fourth generation family business” has a turnover of £50m and pays salaries of £10m annually.

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

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