Local firm granted planning for employee accommodation

A local firm has been granted planning permission to convert one of Killucan's oldest buildings into accommodation for its staff.

Westmeath County Council has given Shay Murtagh Precast Ltd the green light to transform the derelict house and outbuildings at the site formerly known as St Ethchen's Rectory at Glebe, Killucan, into employee accommodation.

According to the application submitted to Westmeath County Council, the firm plans to restore the exterior of the existing derelict dwelling, which is a listed structure, and to convert the interior into three 2 bed units, one 1 bed unit and two 1 bed studios. The application also includes details for a two storey extension to the side of the existing dwelling, which will be used for two 2 bed units, eight 1 bed units and three 1 bed studios.

In a planner's report, the council said that the “redevelopment and refurbishment of Glebe House and its attendant groups and the re-purposing of these protected structures which have lay in a ruinous state for many years is welcomed”.

“It is considered that the proposal will assist in consolidating development and allow for appropriate and measured residential growth which will accommodate the specific needs of employees engaged by Shay Murtagh Precast,” the report said.

In a cover letter to the council's planning department, Shay Murtagh Precast's architect Patrick Little said that the design “will be in keeping with the existing characteristics, form and scale of the existing house and outbuildings”.

“By taking steps to restore and renovate the existing house and outbuildings, their key features will remain while the buildings may also serve the modern needs of the clients,” Mr Little said.

The National Inventory of Architectural Ireland (NIAH) describes the building, which was built in the early 19th century, as an “imposing and well proportioned former rectory, which still impresses despite its now sadly derelict condition”.

The NIAH also said that it “remains an important component of the architectural heritage of Westmeath and is an important reminder of the once thriving Church of Ireland community in Westmeath”.