Monday 29 December 2008

Houses planned for historical estate

PLANNING PERMISSION has been sought for a €100 million development at the site of Hazelwood House in Sligo, one of Ireland's historical former stately homes.

It was designed almost 300 years ago by Richard Castle, architect of Leinster House, Powerscourt House and Westport House.

Developers have applied to Sligo County Council for planning permission to restore the Palladian-style mansion on the shores of the Garavogue river which was occupied by the Wynne family for almost 200 years until the 1920s.

Foresthaze Developments is also seeking planning permission for the demolition of the former Snia/Saehan Media factory on the estate and for the construction of 158 detached houses, and 54 apartments in four blocks on the 81 acre site. The developers say the project would be a significant visitor attraction and would operate under the stewardship of the Irish Heritage Trust.

A factory was built on the Hazelwood Demesne in the early 1970s for the Italian nylon manufacturer Snia.

The firm's factory closed down in 1982 and the premises was sold to Korean company Saehan Media which made video tapes at the plant for 15 years until 2006.

The property was sold to a mainly local consortium in April 2006 for a reported price tag of €7-€10 million.

The new owners, Foresthaze Developments, lodged their application on December 18th.

Built in the 1730s, Hazelwood House was occupied by the Army during the second World War and was later bought by the Department of Health for use as a psychiatric hospital. The house comprises a central block of three storeys over a basement, flanked by two curved wings.

The Irish Georgian Society has described Hazelwood House as "certainly one of the most important architectural structures not only in Sligo but in the northwest as a whole", and urged that the building be preserved as an educational/tourist amenity.

A decision on the planning application is due in February.

Irish Times

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