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Contentious hotel proposal for Kilkeel country house nears decision

Words: Roger Milne
Decision in the balance / iStock-1222618776

The fate of a fire-damaged B+listed country house near Kilkeel in County Down was hanging in the balance this week, with the Department for Infrastructure poised to decide whether or not to intervene over contentious proposals to redevelop Mourne Park House into a luxury hotel and spa.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council officers had recommended that the 126-bedroom scheme should be refused because it “would have a detrimental impact on the character, setting and appearance of the listed buildings by reason of the mass, scale, siting and design” of the new hotel.

The Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities is strongly opposed to the redevelopment plans.

However, the council’s planning committee unanimously backed the proposals. Now the Department for Infrastructure must decide whether to intervene.

In a statement to The Planner a departmental spokesperson said: “The department is currently assessing whether or not the applications should be referred (called in) to it for determination and aims to conclude this assessment as soon as possible.”

Mourne Park House, set against a backdrop of the Mourne mountains and views of Carlingford Loch, was built in around 1806.

Image credit | iStock