Big thank you from

Call to save Victorian villa from demolition

The old Rathvarna Teachers' Resource Centre on the Pond Park Road.AN application currently being considered by the Planning Service to demolish a Victorian villa which housed the old Rathvarna Teachers' Resource Centre on the Pond Park Road in Lisburn has come under fire from a local resident.

Nicola Waddington said she is concerned that if successful, the SEELB's application for a residential development of four pairs of semidetached dwellings, will take away a piece of Lisburn's beautiful architecture.

Nicola, an architect, explained that she has registered her objection to the application "in the strongest possible terms".

She said: "The property at 22 Pond Park Road is a handsome Victorian villa formerly known as 'Pond Park House.

At a Commissioners' meeting in December 2006, the SEELB deemed the house surplus to requirements and put into motion plans for its disposal. The house was boarded up. Nicola continued: "I believe the architecture is of significant merit and that, considered as a whole with the trees, it adds greatly to the character and history of the area."

She said she believes that under the Northern Ireland Environment Agency's Historic Buildings' Unit guidance for the listing of buildings, 22 Pond Park Road meets all of the criteria and has requested the house is immediately listed.

"I would contend that this application for demolition contravenes several planning policy statements," she said.

"In the 1980's the majority of land surrounding the house was sold for housing development. The small amount of land that remains adds greatly to the setting of the house and without it the character of the house would be lost. The grounds to the front and side facing the road contain substantial mature beech trees between the house and the Pond Park Road. These trees contribute to the natural heritage of the area.

"The application states that some existing trees are to be retained. However, on closer inspection it appears the large trees are not recorded accurately and it would be impossible to retain all but those on the site's border to accord with the proposed housing layout.

"In fact, the proposed housing sits so close to the road that any remaining trees would be in danger of being felled by the occupants of the semi detached housing."

Nicola has also requested that the trees on the site immediately receive a Tree Preservation Order.

Planning Service confirmed the application is under consideration.

Ulster Star