Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MP has called on Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Council and the Department for Infrastructure to take urgent action to protect one of Ireland’s most historically significant monuments from unacceptable development.
In recent weeks the construction of a Broadband mast has commenced on top of Knockiveagh cairn without planning permission; and now it has been revealed that permission for a windmill turbine had also been granted following a procedurally flawed planning process.
The South Down MP said:
“Knockiveagh is the home of a substantial and very early Neolithic round-cairn; a monument of national importance for understanding the Neolithic period in Ireland. Moreover in later years it was repurposed as part of a dynastic inauguration site for the Uí Echah Cobha kings, and later the Magennis lords of Co Down.
“Given the precious status of such a site, it is unimaginable that an application for a wind turbine well within the 200metre scheduled area of the cairn would be granted planning permission – indeed such a decision seems to be entirely contrary to planning policy BH1 of PPS6 which sets out the parameters in planning matters concerning the settings of archaeological remains.
“In addition it appears this streamlined planning process was concluded without consulting with the Historic Environment Division (HED). Indeed considering the HED is a statutory consultee in such circumstances planning officials now have serious questions to answer as to how this has been allowed to happen.
Mr Hazzard finished:
“I have now asked both the Department for Infrastructure, and Armagh, Banbridge & Craigavon Council to take urgent action to halt any development on or near this site immediately until a full review of the planning permission has been carried out and the HED given full access to to the planning application.”