Why can no good use be found for Ormiston House? The Commission paid out £9 million for it in 2001. It’s just 10 minutes away from Stormont and it’s still empty.
What so persuaded the Commission to sling £9 million at something it can find no use for?
The Secretariat Review Report (as previously) floats the idea of a sale. But this is a listed building. Given what so frequently happens to listed buildings sold off to private developers here, it would be nice to know what the plans are.
Any more update on the asset taxpayers invested so heavily in?
Step up John Hunter! At the last Commission meeting he provided an update on Ormiston House, saying:
that initial feedback from the Planning Service indicated that restricted planning opportunities would exist on the site and would only be permitted to enable the sympathetic restoration of the house. Mr Neeson highlighted his disappointment in the response of the planning service.
The Commission then agreed to procure valuation and planning advice. Can more exorbitant consultancy fees on the way?
Ormiston sits at the heart of the East Belfast a property market. It’s prime for apartments. Best value is all well and good – but what were the residents told by the Commission in 2001?
Did the civil service always plan to act like a private property developer in the area? Was land-banking mentioned? Will it be open season? Is Bertie due another bunker? Why did the Secretariat fail to put the building to purpose? And – noting Sean Neeson’s disappointment – how far will the Commission now respect the building’s listed status?