Herdmanís Mill owner could be served with urgent repairs notice in wake of latest blaze

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Herdmanís Mill owner could be served with urgent repairs notice in wake of latest blaze thumbnail

THE owner of Herdman's Mill could be served with a notice requiring urgent work to the beleagured structure, local councillors have been told.
At a meeting of Derry City and Strabane District Council's Environment and Regeneration committee last week, a report titled 'Update on Sion Mills Built Heritage Related Matters' was presented to members for consideration.
The report outlined a number of ongoing matters/initiatives actively being progressed by the council's Environment and Regeneration Department across a number of built heritage and planning matters in the village including potential enforcement action against the mill's owner.
It was tabled amidst serious concerns over the future of the historic fire-ravaged site following the latest arson attack - the fifth in recent times - at the complex last month which caused further damage to the mill.

Earlier this month, a group of concerned residents met to voice their collective concern over the village's heritage and to discuss the best course of action to preserve and protect buildings such as the mill.
Local elected representatives have also spoken of the need too for action and the involvement of all agencies to prevent further destruction at the historic site.
At last Wednesday's meeting, the council's regeneration manager - in a report - said the local authority is "mindful" of the recent fire and the "desire by local stakeholders to identify potential solutions to addressing the ongoing deterioration of the mill building and wider complex".
The report confirmed that council is actively considering taking enforcement action against the owner of the site.
Officers may serve an Urgent Works Notice (UWN) which allows councils, working with the Environment Department, to take direct action to secure repairs urgently necessary for the preservation of a listed building.
"Council's planning enforcement officers have been undertaking regular monitoring of the mill complex and (are) attempting to liaise with the property owner during this time.
"One of the potential enforcement options being considered relates to the serving of an Urgent Works Notice (UWN) upon the property owner and which is a direct way for securing repairs necessary for the preservation of a listed building at risk from deterioration," councillors were told.
A UWN would compel the site owner to carry-out immediate repairs on the mill. If action is taken, council can then recuperate the expense from the owner.
The report continued: "Should the works specified within the UWN not be carried out by the property owner following the serving of the notice, council may need to consider carrying out the works in default. If this was potentially the case, then council would then have to seek to recover the costs of carrying out the works by means of a Civil Debt from the property owner.
"In the event of such a scenario arising, and given the physical scale and challenges relating to the building, the cost implications are estimated to be very significant."
Councillors were also told that as part of a wider assessment of the implications of potentially serving a UWN, council's Capital Projects Section is actively undertaking a technical appraisal of the type/scale of physical works required as well as the associated costs of same.
"A proposed scheme to weatherproof the building has been prepared in-house and been passed to an external QS to provide a detailed cost estimate. This exercise is expected to be complete in early summer and presented to members for further consideration," the report added.
During the meeting, councillors were also appraised of the development of a heritage-led regeneration masterplan for the village and ongoing technical support to the Sion Mills Buildings Preservation Trust (SMBPT).



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