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24 September 2014
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De-listing
ornate corner of the Ewarts building in Belfast
De- Listing - Crime Against Bricks And Mortar.

Marcus Patton, from the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society, outlines the threat to Northern Ireland's buildings of historical and architectural value.

What is a listed building?

In 1972, more than 20 years after England and Wales, Northern Ireland was finally introduced to the concept of listed buildings.

By that time we had lost many fine buildings to speculative development, road schemes and housing redevelopment. Many more were to be lost in the Troubles.

When listing began, inspectors were told to record grades A and B+ (nationally important buildings, of which we have only a few hundred) and B ("ordinary" listed buildings, which amount to about 8,000 entries).

They were also told to record grade C buildings, which were of lesser importance or had been considerably altered, but still contributed to the townscape or were capable of restoration.

Nearly 70% of our housing stock in Northern Ireland has been built since 1964.

The grade C buildings were never statutorily listed and most have been demolished or altered out of recognition over the past 30 years. A substantial number of listed buildings, despite the protection they should have enjoyed, have been altered for the worse or, in some cases, even demolished - sometimes with the consent of the Planning Service, sometimes without.

Prime example

The grade A listed, Union Theological College, Belfast
Union Theological College, Botanic Avenue, Belfast, a grade-A listed building in the Queen's University Conservation Area has recently been granted permission for major development. The Presbyterian Assemblies College, as it was originally known, was designed by Charles Lanyon, one of Belfast's most important architects, and built in 1852-1855.


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