Katriona appointed as conservation officer
COUNCILLORS HAVE welcomed the appointment of Katriona Byrne as conservation officer with Wexford County Council. But elected representatives pointed out that many owners of ' listed' buildings still have worries about the price they may have to pay for protecting the built heritage.
Cllr. Keith Doyle (FF) pointed to concerns about likely extra insurance costs and difficulties obtaining planning permission for any improvements. He described the prospects as a minefield. Cllr. Larry O'Brien felt that house owners cannot afford such impositions.
The Fine Gael man complained that some of them only found out they were in line for listing when they received a letter after someone came sneaking around their property with a camera without permission.
Cllr. O'Brien said he had no problem with cathedrals being listed but warned that the prospect of Catholic churches serving small parishes appearing on the list was a different matter, 'Goodness only knows what it will cost.'
Larry O'Brien revealed that he had been involved in one old structure being renovated.
Officials wanted the authentic old glass should be retained in the windows rather than allowing modern double glazing, ' We wanted to improve the building and make it warm and comfortable but we were not allowed,' he complained.
Director of planning Eamonn Hore assured him that no-one from Wexford County Council had been sneaking around taking pictures.
He also expected that the 2,000 plus buildings around the county put forward for inclusion of the national inventory of architectural heritage would be significantly reduced.
Cllr. Ted Howlin (Lab.) observed that there was no hope of elderly people living in big houses investing large amounts in preservation and refurbishment. The result would be that the structures would be allowed to fall down, he predicred.
'How many traditional farmhouses do you need on the list?' wondered Cllr. Denis Kennedy (FG).