CONDITIONAL planning permission has been granted by Limerick County Council for the upgrading of the heritage centre - formerly known as the interpretive centre - in Lough Gur to include a coffee dock and retail area.
Lough Gur Development lodged an application with the local authority in February for the redevelopment works which also include the renewal of thatch on the centre, the replacement of windows, the re-modelling of the link structure and internal modifications.
“The centre is a listed building and whilst the footprint cannot be altered, the interior will be revamped completely making the centre more accessible to visitors with mobility difficulties and will have a more attractive and modern feel yet retaining the unique heritage style,” explained Roseanne Dunne, manager Lough Gur Development Co-op Society when the planning application was lodged.
“A coffee dock and retail area will be added along with user friendly panels and story boards. The thatch will be replaced along with the windows. The plan is that the centre can be used by local groups,” she added.
According to the conditions attached to the planning permission, all works on the buildings and the permitted extensions shall be supervised on an ongoing basis by a conservation architect accredited to the appropriate grade of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland or the Royal Institute of British Architects or an EU recognised and accredited body.
Prior to the commencement of development the name of the selected architect shall be submitted in writing to the planning authority for written agreement.
Upon completion of the works, the supervising architect, shall certify to the planning authority, to the authority’s satisfaction and written approval that the specified works have been carried out in accordance with the best conservation in the field architectural heritage.
No works shall commence on site until the applicants submit for the written agreement of the planning authority the following: demonstrate to the planning authority that the outlet pipe from the existing septic tank is blocked, demonstrate that the existing septic tank is water tight, using a method to be agreed with the planning authority.
A proposal shall be submitted to the planning authority for the proper and safe management of effluent generated from the development.
The centre had been run by Shannon Heritage until last year when Lough Gur Development took over the management on a long-term lease from Limerick County Council.
The visitor centre was built around the years 1979/80 and the design of the centre was based on neolithic house plans which were evident at the Lough Gur site at Knockadoon.