The owner of an 18th century Belfast pub has spoken of her shock at discovering it could be stripped of its listed status through media reports.
Kelly’s Cellars in Bank Square is known around the world as a must-visit watering hole for tourists - and as a meeting place for rebellious United Irishmen leaders plotting the 1798 uprising.
Lily Mulholland said she had no idea the Department of the Environment was considering the de-listing proposal. She is now seeking legal advice in the hope of ensuring it remains on the protected list.
She said she was “quite annoyed” that the DOE had not informed her of the plans. I woke up to phone calls, messages and newspapers this morning and that was the first I knew anything about it.
“I’m worried about it being de-listed then the developers can come in yet this is a part of history in this town...maybe this [bar] is in the way of certain developers.”
Ms Mulholland told the News Letter yesterday afternoon: “They didn’t even have the professionalism to contact me and let me know. I can’t find the words, that they hadn’t the decency to give me a letter. I’d love to know their reasons.”
Other landmark listed buildings having their status re-evaluated include Arthur Chambers in Arthur Street and the former Methodist church (now Ulster Bank) in Donegall Square East.
A message posted on the Kelly’s Cellars’ official Facebook page said: “This is a scary time for us here. But we know and trust that we can count on your help when the time comes to shout NO!”
Last night, a spokesman for the DOE said one of its officials had now contacted the owner of Kelly’s Cellars and “advised that any objections and comments will be considered next week before a final decision is made”.
Earlier, a DOE spokeswoman explained the de-listing proposals were “part of DOE’s ongoing review of the city’s historic buildings”.
She said: “The issue regarding most of the buildings proposed for de-listing is that internal investigation has revealed a significant loss of historic fabric. Decisions taken in the 1970s following the first listing survey were based upon exteriors and basic historic research.
“The department’s recent consideration has evaluated this loss against a consideration of remaining architectural and historic interest. A final view will however, only be taken once consultation responses have been received. The current review significantly updates the department’s record of Belfast’s historic buildings.”