The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby GrahamH » Thu May 18, 2006 2:07 am

The Greenore Hotel, built by The London and North Western Railway in the 1870s as one of the most imposing railway hotels in Ireland, and one of only a handful to be built of brick, located at Greenore Port in north Co Louth is to be demolished according to the website The El Paso Times. Apparently an article about the impending demolition has also appeared in the local newspaper.

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The building is not a Protected Structure, having extraordinarily been rejected for inclusion in the county's Record of Protected Structures around 2000-2002 by Louth County Council, in spite of detailed conservation reasons being advanced to the council by the Minister's office and by the (then) Architectural Heritage Advisory Service of Dúchas as to why the building should be listed, according to An Taisce. Essentially the council ruled that this landmark historic building known to probably most people in the North East has no architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest.

In 2002 Greenore Ferry Services Ltd (the Port) applied for permission to demolish the hotel (which also has parts of the associated platforms and railway infrastructure still intact), and replace it with a storage warehouse.
They claimed:

• The building is in a very poor and possibly dangerous condition.

• The building does not display any of the special interest qualities (architectural, historical, social, etc.) described by Dúchas’ Architectural Conservation Guidelines for Planning Authorities and has no architectural merit.

• The building has lost the graciousness of its original design and setting, which included the railway station and gardens and has little architectural or historical significance. The building is isolated in a working port area and not accessible to the public.

• The building has no close association with the village and is of no significant streetscape or visual importance to the village.

• The port of Greenore is of prime importance for the industrial development of the area and the retention of this building would compromise its future development and undermine the ability of the port to operate efficiently.

• The cost of refurbishment of the building would be prohibitive and there are no viable uses for the building consistent with its location in a working port area.



Louth County Council granted permission for its demolition and replacement, subject to a full architectural survey of the building and the salvaging of as many interior fixtures and fittings as possible, which needless to say shows in stark light the contradiction with rejecting its proposal for PS status in the first place. This was also in spite of Duchas's later submission to ABP, stating:

• James Barton, an eminent Irish Engineer who designed many railway lines, designed the building.

• The Greenore Hotel and Railway Station is of architectural interest as a good example of 19th century design and is in fact one of the few brick built railway hotels of its kind in the country.

• One side of the former railway station platform survives, as do the offices, toilets, etc., of the railway station, while the building does contain decorative plasterwork, arched niches, panelled joinery and contains a fine main staircase.

• The building’s isolation within a working port and its alleged poor state of repair has, in the view of Dúchas, nothing to do with its special architectural and historical interest.

• To facilitate the speedy movement of passengers to and from the platforms, James Barton designed moving stairways, which are described and drawn in the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers. These early versions of escalators would be of immense historical and technical importance if traces of them survived.

• The building is partly in use as offices at present. Landmark buildings, such as this, are often considered desirable by companies and commercial owners who appreciate the high profile, which buildings of architectural and historical quality bring.



Louth/Meath's Conservation Officer Jill Chadwick also stated in a report in 2001:

“The railway line and station are gone. The future of the port is at a crossroads. Investment is needed for its development. Since the present site area is restricted, there is a possibility that the port may move from its present location to allow for expansion. This would allow the present port location and site of the hotel to be redeveloped for tourism. I believe it would be short-sighted to allow the demolition of this structure, which would maintain a visible link to the history of the area.

If Louth County Council feel that retaining and protecting the building will place an excessive burden on the owners of the Port, temporary weather protection might be provided to halt the deterioration of the structure, pending a full investigation and report on the future of their Port and a comprehensive plan for the area. If at that time it can be shown that the retention of this structure would seriously jeopardise the development of the Port and the overall good of the community, the Council might reconsider its decision and remove the structure from the Record”.



This development would have got the go-ahead were it not for the Dublin office of An Taisce who appealed the Council's decision to An Bord Pleanála. The Bord rejected the Council's decision outright, fully holding up the inspector's report which cited the building to be "of significant architectural and historical interest. Its demolition as a consequence of the proposed development would seriously injure the amenities of the area, have a detrimental effect on the historical and architectural heritage and would be contrary to the proper planning and development of the area."

The inspector went on:

My conclusions are as follows: -

1. Although in a poor condition with many parts badly damaged through water ingress, the building contains attractive external features such as the entrance porch and fenestration.

2. The suggestion by Duchas and the Louth/Meath Conservation Officer that the building is of both architectural and historical interest seems reasonable.

3. The building is clearly visible from and forms part of the visual context to the public amenity area and car park along the east side of the headland at Greenore Point.

4. Although the Hotel/Station does not form a focal point at the end of Euston Street, it is part of an assemblage of buildings of architectural, historical and visual interest and which includes the lighthouse and cottage to the west of the public amenity area. These buildings are or could be integrated into a significant relationship because of their close proximity.


In the intervening years the building was still not added to the Record, even in spite of the Inspector noting: "given that the Hotel/Station is not a listed structure, having been rejected as such by Louth County Council, it would appear that its owner irrespective of the decision on this appeal could demolish it. This would seem to be an anomaly and lacuna in the legislation."

I have yet to confirm the details of the alleged proposed demolition - it was still intact as of last week anyway.
Hope to find out more soon.
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby phil » Thu May 18, 2006 9:37 am

Thanks for that Graham. Interesting to note how the fact that 'the public' could not see it due to its isolation was listed as one of the legitimate reasons it should be demolished. Surely this could be said about many other buildings of historical and architectural importance. Good luck with finding out more about it.
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby Frank Taylor » Thu May 18, 2006 12:03 pm

There's something odd but pleasant about Greenore. It's a bit too developed for its current isolation. Remnants of former status.

Does anyone know the beautiful residences on the way into the town? They look American-colonial style.
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby GrahamH » Thu May 18, 2006 6:15 pm

Yes, they're fascinating buildings aren't they? So unusual - there's about five of them lining the road.
I've relatives who live a rambling Edwardian semi-d in the village (with incredibly rare original bench toilet in the bathroom, as well as surviving outside toilet :)) who told me who built the houses but can't remember who!
The Railway company obviously built much of the housing in the village so maybe it's possible these larger ones were the 'executive' branch of its property arm, built in tandem with the development of the newly fashionable golf course?

Odd sums up Greenore very well Frank - in a way it'd remind you of Royston Vasey in The League of Gentlemen :D - a former industrial village isolated and forgotton about, preserved almost as originally built, shielded from the influences of the modern world. You can see just how isolated it is, up there on the north side of the nose of the seahorse:

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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby Devin » Thu May 18, 2006 11:56 pm

The building is not a Protected Structure, having extraordinarily been rejected for inclusion in the county's Record of Protected Structures
The Port must have got in there and objected when it was proposed for addition … didn’t want anything to constrain their options for it! :rolleyes:

Have they looked at sustainable development implications? Demolishing a large structure like that is going create a lot of landfill - only so much will be recycleable.
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri May 19, 2006 2:28 am

I was sent some information on this by a local....

I would like to draw your attention to a demolition currently being undertaken in Greenore, Co. Louth. The Greenore Hotel which was opened in the 1870's by the London and North Western Railway Company has been let run into disrepair by its owners and is currently being demolished. The county Conservation Officer is powerless as the building is not listed ' our elected representitives voted NOT to have it listed. We all remember the controversy over the Drogheda Grammar School, it was a listed building but here we have a building of similar architectural and historical significance legally being demolished.

In 2002 the Port Company applied to build a storage warehouse on the site of the hotel and demolish said building. Planning was granted by louth County Council, according to them this building is' 'of no architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social or technical interest sufficient to warrant its inclusion in Louth County Council's Record of Protected Structures.'

The planning was sucessfully appealed by An Taisce, an Bord Pleanala stated permission is hereby refused for the said development for the reasons set out in the Schedule hereto;

It is considered that the former Greenore Hotel/Railway building on site is of significant historic and architectural value, both in itself and in its important historic and visual relationship with the Victorian core of the village of Greenore.' The proposed development, which would involve the demolition of this building of considerable heritage value would, therefore, seriously injure the amenities of the area and be contrary to the proper planning and development of the area.

Having regard to the architectural and historical significance of the hotel building and the absence of an overall plan for the development and growth of the port area, the Board is not satisfied, on the basis of submissions made in connection with the planning application and the appeal, that the proposed demolition is necessary or that the proposed erection of a warehouse in this location would justify that demolition. The proposed development would, therefore, seriously injure the amenities of the area and be contrary to the proper planning and development of the area.

May I also point out that (as per Commissioners of Irish Lights) Louth County Cllr. Peter Savage is also a former general manager and managing director, Greenore Ferry and Greenore Port See http://www.cil.ie/sh620x4140.html

I have attached some newspaper articles and observations by an Bord Pleanala, please search http://www.pleanala.ie for the following case number 28638.

I contacted Jill Chadwick (the conservation officer) and she regretted to inform me that there is no Preservation Order presently on the structure, it was only ever a temporary 6 months protection and they are technically within their rights to demolish the hotel. Her only recommendation was to express our opposition to the demolition to our elected'representatives. Jill's e-mail address is jchadwick@meathcoco.ie or planning dept on 042 935 3180 if you need further clarification.

I visited the site late yesterday evening and the hotel is still (more or less) in the condition as per the photo in current Argus article (scan attached). I don't believe, as stated by Terry King CEO Greenore Port, that the building is impossible to presereve. Infact the roof section that has so far been removed was not part of the original structure.

Another photo available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenore
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby Paul Clerkin » Fri May 19, 2006 2:33 am

article - cut in two to attach
Attachments
greenore1.jpg
greenore1.jpg (65.18 KiB) Viewed 4532 times
Argus 10 May 2006.jpg
Argus 10 May 2006.jpg (40.66 KiB) Viewed 4520 times
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby PVC King » Fri May 19, 2006 8:56 pm

Paul Clerkin wrote:I contacted Jill Chadwick (the conservation officer) and she regretted to inform me that there is no Preservation Order presently on the structure, it was only ever a temporary 6 months protection and they are technically within their rights to demolish the hotel. Her only recommendation was to express our opposition to the demolition to our elected'representatives. Jill's e-mail address is jchadwick@meathcoco.ie or planning dept on 042 935 3180 if you need further clarification.


I am a little confused; if Greenore is in Co Louth why does the conservation officer have a Meath County Council e-mail address?

That detail aside this is a depressing surprise
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby PVC King » Sat May 20, 2006 6:44 pm

Does County Louth have a heritage officer?

I can't find one on their website and if there isn't this would make this demolition a national scandal and absolute proof of the real lack of protection for architectural heritage in Ireland.
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby GrahamH » Sat May 20, 2006 7:16 pm

So it's coming down already :( :mad:
It really goes to show the extent to which architectural heritage protection lies in the hands of wholly inexperienced councillors, who, even in spite of the (almost by definition) expert opinions of those proposing additions to the Record, see fit to vote these things down.
Why was the Hotel voted out? The only conceivable reasons are either an objection by the Port, or by the councillors themselves who didn't want to 'unduly hinder' the development of the port.
A truly depressing state of affairs. The hotel looks even more impressive in the above photo :(
A typically parochial, dewy eyed piece of journalism too.

Louth shares its Conservation Officer with Meath.
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby PVC King » Mon May 22, 2006 12:07 pm

The implication of that is that Co Meath with a World Heritage site at Newgrange and numerous highly important sites such as Tara has only half a heriatge officer. This just gets worse.

I would like to see a poll on this
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Re: The Greenore Hotel to be demolished

Postby Paul Clerkin » Tue Apr 02, 2013 6:24 pm

I located some photos of the hotel including interiors on the UK Railway Museum web-archives

http://archiseek.com/2013/hotel-greenore/#.UVsT0pNzF8E
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