Clarke wants floodlighting at Dundrum Castle

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Saturday, January 12th, 2013
Alliance Party Newcastle Councillor Patrick Clarke has written to the Minister for the Environment Alex Atwood MLA asking him to reconsider his decision not to fund the installation or running costs of floodlighting at Dundrum Castle. In a previous letter in November 2012 to Councillor Clarke the Minister had approved a number of refurbishment works, installation of new picnic tables and bins as well as some environmental improvements, including plans and long term options for developing a visitor centre. According to Clarke, the Minister referred it to Down District Council for consideration to fund and Planning Service to approve it. Speaking to Newry Times, Clarke said, “Following a letter from the Minister I raised the matter with the Chief Executive of Down District Council who has advised me that the Estates Department have given it due consideration and outlined that Council have been asked to provide floodlighting before, the last time being Killyleagh Castle. “Down District Council did not support the request at that time. I have been further advised that in order to fund the capital expenditure for the lighting, Council would need to take out a loan and the Department of Finance and Personnel will not grant such a loan when the asset upon which it will be spent is not within Down District Council’s ownership.” Clarke continued, “Also, Mr. Dumigan believes that Down District Council will perhaps take the view that the DOE should fund such a proposal as Dundrum Castle is their building. “With this in mind I have asked the Minister to reconsider my request under the long term options to develop a visitor centre at Dundrum Castle which the Minister has previously outlined to me, or perhaps discuss my request with the NI Environmental Agency to explore the possibility of allowing Dundrum Castle to be floodlighted.” “Whilst I am aware that the DOE does not fund the installation or running cost of floodlighting at monuments, I really do believe if the Minister could investigate and establish the costings and funding regarding floodlighting as part of the overall long term measures with developing a visitor centre that it would be showcasing this truly historic site. He added, “Floodlighting Dundrum Castle would certainly add to the tourism potential of this very popular all year round tourist attraction which has already been highlighted in the Village Development Plan for Dundrum 2012-2016 as a way of marketing and promoting the Castle more effectively to draw more tourists.” “I hope the Minister for the Environment will respond positively to my request.”
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