A DECISION by the Planning Service to refuse permission for the redevelopment of the former Hilden Integrated Primary School has been welcomed by Lisburn Councillors. Plans had been submitted by the South Eastern Education and Library Board to redevelop the school, which had educated the children of Hilden for almost 100 years until its closure in 2008.
However, the planning service rejected the scheme to turn it into three townhouses, saying it would result in the loss of the architectural character of the listed building.
Stating their reasons for refusal, the Planning Service said the proposal would "detract from its appearance and character and result in a loss of its architectural/historic integrity by reason of the changes required to the fabric of the building which would cause damage to the following features of special interest; 1. The building floor plan, particularly the main corridor axis. 2. The internal architectural features eg, internal glazed screens, doors, windows, panelling and fireplaces."
Speaking at a meeting of Lisburn City Council's Planning Committee on Monday evening, Councillor Jenny Palmer welcomed the decision to turn it down.
"Hopefully the school building can now be retained for use by the community," said Mrs Palmer.
Alderman Paul Porter added: "It is great news that this has been refused. We should seek a meeting with the SEELB to discuss the future of the site."
The SEELB recently expressed the opinion that the Hilden IPS building could be retained by the Board, which they said had the potential to be used as a joint educational facility. However, local residents are campaigning for it to used as a community facility.
Earlier this year Hilden Community Association indicated their concerns over the future of the building and made it clear they would like the school, which was given to the community by the Barbour family, retained to serve the Hilden community.