In 1969 the Ulster Architectural Heritage Society published a list of historic buildings, groups of buildings and areas of architectural importance, highlighting the need to conserve our built heritage in Lisburn. Since its publication over 50 of those identified on the list have been demolished including the notable example of the old Lisburn Courthouse.
Alliance Downshire East candidate Aaron McIntyre commented “This figure is shocking. Lisburn has a long and varied history that is, at least in part, expressed through our built heritage. The Lisburn Historic Quarter and the regeneration of Bridge Street represents the positive steps the council and funding bodies have taken to preserve our history, but more needs to be done. I welcome the announcement of planning permission for the redevelopment of the derelict site on Castle Street, however, the plans should be sympathetic to the surrounding historic street-scape. Unfortunately, these building were no longer structurally safe and had to be demolished, but nevertheless I would press developers and planners to retain as much of the original structure as possible when non-listed historic buildings are redeveloped.
A recent survey carried out in June 2012 by the Department of the Environment and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has demonstrated that our built heritage has economic benefits including increasing footfall by attracting visitors and creating jobs. However, it is not just economically that we can benefit through our historic buildings and spaces, but also socially. Our built heritage can add to our sense of identity and place, generating civic pride and well-being.
Lisburn’s built heritage is a unique asset and is something to be proud of. I would stress the need for a diverse response to its management that will not only see benefits in our society today, but which will preserve what remains of Lisburn’s historic fabric for future generations.”