The demolition of a 19th century house has sparked anger and upset from residents living nearby.
Lakeview House, which sits in a large estate on the Gilford Road at Gibson’s Hill near Lurgan, was demolished at the weekend.
A sizeable building with six opulent bedrooms, swimming pool and games room, it had recently been on the market with a value of just £250,000 with adjoining nine and a half acres of land valued at £125k.
The front section of the main house was constructed in the 19th Century. In need of substantial renovation, it is understood the building had been used as a drinking den while it was not occupied.
In 2008 planning permission for 44 houses to be built at the site was refused after objections from 66 residents.
Gibson’s Hill Residents’ Group member Philip Kilpatrick said: “The residents are obviously shocked and upset that this demolition has taken place. Lakeview house was a significant landmark on the approach to Gibsons Hill, and could be viewed from the road in both directions.
“It formed part of the Local Landscape Policy Area, and it was to have been viewable even after the completion of the new housing development. On a personal level, I believe that this is a test case for the powers bestowed upon Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon council in relation to planning decisions,” he said. Mr Kilpatrick called on the council to instigate proceedings to have the house reinstated. It’s understood there had been moves to try and get the house designated as a listed building.
Attempts were made to contact the owner but no one responded at time of going to press.
The house was originally the home of the owners of a creamery in Lurgan and in latter years had been the home of the Morton family.
A spokesperson for ABC Council said: “While many people may be disappointed Lakeview House has been demolished, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council can confirm because it was not a listed building nor located within a Conservation Area or an Area of Townscape Character, its demolition did not require any planning, listed building or conservation area approval.”