Council agrees lease terms for Necarne estate

11th February 2020

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Fermanagh and Omagh District Council has approved the proposed lease terms for Necarne Estate in Irvinestown. The proposal from Gardrum Holdings Ltd is to create a multi-purpose tourism and leisure destination to include a holiday retreat with a range of accommodation; outdoor activities; enhanced walkways and cycle paths; an equestrian trail; events space and reinstatement of Necarne lake.

Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, and Councillor for Erne North, Siobhán Currie, said that the Council has remained committed to finding a long term proposal for the Estate that would benefit the Irvinestown and Erne North community, as well as the wider district.

“The Council has been working through a lengthy and robust process regarding proposals for the lease of the Necarne Estate in Irvinestown to ensure that a long term sustainable use can be established for this beautiful yet underutilised estate that will bring social, economic and environmental benefits to the local community and the district.

We have considered and responded to various issues raised in relation to the lease of Necarne Estate, consulted with the local community and taken various representations from interested groups and stakeholders to ensure that all matters are taken into consideration.

The Council is pleased to have reached this stage in the interest of transforming the Estate into one which, through substantial private investment, attracts employment and visitors and preserves and enhances the heritage and natural environment to be enjoyed by locals and visitors.”

The proposed lease includes a term of 99 years, that the public continues to enjoy access to the Estate free of charge for walking, cycling, horse-riding and dog walking (with some access may be restricted during certain events in line with existing arrangements), and that existing access is further enhanced through reinstatement of the main gate. It also proposes that provision is made for the potential development of a multi-sports centre and the Council has commissioned a feasibility study into the development of such a facility.

As the owner of a listed property the Council is obliged to maintain Necarne Castle. Some work has recently been carried out to deal with vegetation and the Council is continuing to investigate the options for Necarne Castle with the long-term ambition to redevelop the Castle for wider community benefit and to that of the local heritage.

Councillor Diana Armstrong who represents the area and is also the Vice Chair of the Council welcomed the progress, saying:

“I believe that investment by Gardrum will bring significant long term benefits to Irvinestown and Erne North. I sought and received assurances that the public access will remain as it is. It is time to embrace a new chapter in the history of Necarne which will bring the Estate alive – this is a good news story for Irvinestown, for Fermanagh and its tourism industry.”

The Council is committed to achieving a long-term sustainable use for the Necarne Estate that will benefit the local area and the wider district and looks forward to completing the lease process.