Thursday 17 April 2008

Humewood Castle plan appealed

AN TAISCE IS opposing a €250 million tourism and recreational development proposed for Humewood Castle demesne in Kiltegan, Co Wicklow saying it would impact on the architectural and historic significance of the Humewood demesne.

Developer John Lally was granted planning permission by Wicklow County Council to turn the 19th century Gothic pile into a five-star hotel with a leisure centre and spa and part of the 450-acre estate into a resort with 89 tourist lodges, an 18-hole championship golf course and clubhouse.

In its appeal to An Bord Pleanála, An Taisce says Humewood Castle is the most significant surviving Victorian country house in Ireland and was the only Irish house to feature in The Victorian Country House by Mark Girouard. "The proposal replicates a form, which has now been well-established over the last 20 years, of acquiring Irish country house estates and development vehicles of which the Ryder Cup-hosting K-club has become the best known example and turning them into American country club-inspired golf hotel-oriented developments with residential units for sale to investors," says the appeal.

An Taisce says it has expressed its preference in discussions with the developer that Humewood Castle be turned into a heritage property comparable to Tyntesfield outside Bristol.

It says the development involves a scale of development and landscape impact "which is injurious to the combined architectural and historic significance of the Humewood demesne, and contravenes Ireland's adoption of the European landscape convention and the Florence charter by reason of its location and number of residential units and the impact of the golf course on the designed landscape". The former owner of Humewood Castle was socialite Renata Coleman who reportedly paid less than £1 million for it in 1992.

The Irish Times

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