Woodsides housing plan subject to ‘archaelogical’ conditions

The old Woodsides building in Carrickfergus.  INCT 11-720-CON
The old Woodsides building in Carrickfergus. INCT 11-720-CON

Plans for a new housing development at Joymount are subject to archaeological conditions, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has said.

The proposals, which include 11 detached units, 16 semi-detached units and eight apartments, would see the demolition of the former Woodsides retail unit at the site.

There may be some initial disappointment locally that the commercial site is being lost

David Hilditch

The development follows speculation on social media that existing buildings would eventually be used for another commercial venture.

However, the historical character of the surrounding area will have to be considered, said East Antrim MLA David Hilditch.

“There may be some initial disappointment locally that the commercial site is being lost,” added Mr Hilditch, who chairs the Carrickfergus Regeneration Partnership. “The site is within the Conservation Area so it will have to conform to certain regulations.”

To date there is no indication as to when the application will go before the new Mid and East Antrim Council, a spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency said.

“The application site contains part of the remains of Joymount Orchard Wall, belonging to Joymount House, part of which is scheduled for protection under the Historic Monuments and Archaeological Objectives Order (Northern Ireland) 1995,” the spokesperson added.

“The development site is also located within an Area of Archaeological Potential (AAP) identified for the historic settlement of Carrickfergus.

“As such, there may be below ground archaeological remains associated with the proposed site. In addition, the development site is located on the site of an old corn mill and flax spinning site which is listed on the Department’s Industrial Heritage Record.”

Although there are no upstanding remains, below ground remains may survive and site is therefore of local heritage interest, the Agency added.

“As a consequence of the potential for archaeology, NIEA – Historic Monuments Unit were formally consulted on the application,” the spokesperson continued.

“NIEA-HMU has advised that if this application is to be approved that it is conditional to ensure that any archaeological remains within the application site are properly identified and protected or appropriately recorded in advance of new construction.”