AN ambitious plan by a Dromore based company which would transform the Necarne Estate “will put Irvinestown on the map”, a local businessman has said. 
The proposal by Gardrum Holdings Ltd, the holding company of Tyrone based Euro Auctions, focuses holiday accommodation and the reintroduction of a lake for leisure and sporting purposes. 
It is subject to approval by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council.
A masterplan by Holder Mathias Architects accommodates “all current users of the estate” and seeks to continue the popular Point to Point, cross country, horse shows, walkers and cyclists. 
It also makes allowances for the potential to re-introduce the International Horse Trials event “should there be the desire and demand to bring it back,” a spokesperson has said. 
Architects have recently consulted with local planners and head officials from the Historic Environment Division (HED) and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency. 
Said the spokesperson: “Necarne Estate is an outstanding setting, displaying some of the most impressive naturally sweeping parkland in Ireland, along with a number of listed buildings and structures.
“Our masterplan, has from the beginning, given the utmost respect to this setting and throughout ongoing discussions with HED we have improved our scheme to help aid final approval from the statutory bodies whenever a planning application is submitted.” 
The company aims to submit a planning application “in due course” which it says “will of course be open for public consultation.”
“We appreciate how important Necarne is to the local community, the importance of walking and enjoying the estate which is quite rightly described as ‘Irvinestown’s back garden’.
“At the heart of our plan is the aim to increase footfall and local community involvement and use of the estate. 
Should the plan be progressed the company says that access for walking and cycling will remain open and in addition it will open and improve an access point along the Enniskillen road “investing in improving the current walkways and installing new additional walkways, immediately improving the estate for all.”
“The buildings have been vacant for some time; we already have plans that would see occupation of some of these buildings in the short term. These uses would not require any lengthy planning permissions or approvals, therefore having an immediate benefit to the estate.”
Gardrum says it has liaised with planners and the Environment Agency Officials about the castle which is currently in a dilapidated state. 
“We would like to work alongside Fermanagh and Omagh District Council in promoting the castle if this was suitable.”
As for a timescale, the company says it has already had “detailed discussions with local area planners and are satisfied with our progress to date.”
“A planning application of this size will require many detailed reports and consultations – especially due to the listed buildings and parklands. We will give this estate the best attention in order that a successful planning outcome is achieved.
“We are continuing to work with the local Council and pending their approval Gardrum have a number of improvements and uses that can be established at the estate in the short term, 
“We believe we have developed a masterplan for the estate that will, subject to Council approval:

  • Increase tourism visitors to Irvinestown and the local Council area
  • Bring Listed and non listed buildings back into economic use
  • Improve the entire Necarne Estate
  • Allow the public continued access and enjoyment
  • Create an environment that’s welcoming and friendly for all
  • Provide an opportunity for employment
  • Create a destination to host and welcome many community events

Businessman Joe Mahon, who runs Mahon’s Hotel, says he and other members of the local community recently met with Gardrum and discussed the plan.
“I think it will be a great job. Going by the plans I think it will put Irvinestown on the map and is exactly the sort of thing that Fermanagh, a tourist destination, needs now.”