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03/03/20 Irish Planning Institute Award for Church Lane Historic Towns Initiative

Presidents award

Receiving the President’s Highly Commended Project Award at the Irish Planning Institute Awards in the Westin Hotel, Dublin on Thursday, February 27 are (from left to right): Lee Gooch (Lower Church Lane Residents’ Association), Joseph Gallagher (Heritage Officer, Donegal County Council), Duncan McLaren (Conservation Architect, Dedalus Architecture), Jo McMenamin (Administrative Officer, Donegal County Council), Joe Corr (President, Irish Planning Institute), Collette Beattie (Conservation Officer, Donegal County Council) and Donnan Harvey (Secretary, Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee).


The Church Lane Historic Towns Initiative in Letterkenny scooped the President’s Highly Commended Project at the Irish Planning Institute Awards in the Westin Hotel, Dublin last Thursday evening, February 27.  Donegal County Council and its partners Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee, Dedalus Architecture, Lower Church Lane Residents’ Association & The Heritage Council were recognised for the heritage-led regeneration project that saw the conservation of seven historic properties along Church Lane in Letterkenny’s Cathedral Quarter.  The award was presented by Eoghan Murphy T.D., acting Minister for Housing, Planning & Local Government and by the President of the Irish Planning Institute.


“This special award by the Irish Planning Institute underscores the importance and potential of heritage-led regeneration” said Joseph Gallagher, County Donegal Heritage Officer.  “In these challenging times for our town centres and villages, initiatives such as the Heritage Council’s Historic Towns Initiative are providing a platform to showcase the contribution that the conservation and reuse of our historic buildings make to the character of our historic streetscapes and serve to highlight how historic preservation can help create more attractive places in which to live and work.  The Historic Towns Initiative builds on the success of the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter Committee over the past six years in its determination to regenerate the historic heart of the Cathedral Quarter centred on Church Lane.”  The Historic Towns Initiative was sponsored by The Heritage Council, Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht and Donegal County Council along with private investment by lower Church Lane residents.


“The Irish Planning Institute Awards seek to highlight innovation and excellence in Irish planning” said Collette Beattie, Conservation Officer, Donegal County Council.  “Under the Historic Towns Initiative co-managed by the Conservation Office and the Heritage Office of Donegal County Council, conservation works to seven historic properties were undertaken that included roof and chimney repairs, installation of cast-iron rainwater goods, reinstatement of timber sash windows and doors, application of lime render or lime pointing, and the repair of a historic shopfront using traditional materials and informed by best conservation practice.  As well as undertaking conservation works, the Historic Towns Initiative allowed us to establish a very successful way of working in partnership with the local community and facilitating the heritage-led regeneration that can be applied to other towns and villages in County Donegal.”


“The Irish Planning Institute Award is a presidential seal of approval” said Laurie McGee, Chairperson of the Letterkenny Cathedral Quarter.  “The endorsement moves the project onto a different level.  It’s a win the county can be proud of.  This is an example of what can be achieved by a committed group of volunteers working in close partnership with the County Council to realise a vision which is becoming a shared goal.  We believe in using the past to create a better future.  By restoring the built heritage of the Cathedral Quarter we’re creating a place which will attract visitors to Letterkenny.  We’re also trying to restore local pride in the town's most historic area.  This prestigious award will help cement the ongoing and invaluable support of local businesses and residents and attract future investment.  The Irish Planning Institute has seen the merit of what we’ve undertaken.  We hope this will help others to do so too.”

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