Built Heritage

What is the Record of Protected Structures?

A protected structure is a structure that a local authority, or the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, considers to be of special interest from an architectural, historical, archaeological, artistic, cultural, scientific, social, or technical point of view. The Record of Protected Structures (RPS) is a list of structures protected under the Planning Acts. There are over 600 buildings all around the county on the RPS.

Are there any grant schemes or measures in place to assist owners and occupier to preserve a protected structure?

Sometimes, though it does vary from year to year. When a conservation grant scheme is announced, Roscommon County Council will advertise it on this website and in a local paper and spread the word through local media, the council Facebook page and the Heritage Office email mailing list.

Grant schemes, when announced, usually have a short lead in time. Competition is fierce for limited grant aid and the better your application the better your chance of success. Advice from a conservation professional is a big help to you application and must grant schemes require that your project is overseen by an experienced conservation professional. It’s a good idea to plan ahead for your project and be ready to make your application if a grant scheme is announced!

Grant applications are usually assessed with regard to the significance of the building and the effectiveness of the works. Works to keep a building structurally safe; works to repair roofs and works to keep a building watertight usually rank higher in priority than interior works.

Do special procedures apply to protected structures under the planning system?

Yes, For a protected structure even minor works may require planning permission, if those works would affect the character of the structure, or any element of the structure that contributes to its special interest. Depending on the nature of the structure, planning permission could, for example, be required for interior decorating such as plastering or painting.

How does an owner or occupier know which works require planning permission?

An owner or occupier of a protected structure may ask the local authority for a Section 57declaration indicating the types of works that could be carried out without affecting the character of the structure. These works would not require planning permission. A local authority will, in general, issue such a declaration within three months of receiving a request. There is no fee for this.

How does an owner or an occupier apply for planning permission to carry out works to a protected structure?

A planning application involving a protected structure is made in the same way as any other planning application. However, more detailed information may be required with the application and the public notice must state that the structure is protected.

Expert conservation advice should be retained from the outset of the project to ensure that the proposals are properly developed. There should be continuous expert involvement in the detailing and specification for the proposed works. There should be also be continued expert involvement in the management and site supervision of the works using experienced and skilled workers with proper and adequate supervision.

An architectural conservation report (to include a concise architectural heritage impact assessment) should be carried out for the proposed works. It is recommended that this report and recommendations be carried out by a suitably qualified and experienced conservation architect. The architectural conservation report should explain the historical and architectural significance of the building and identify threats, both direct and indirect to the heritage, and set out policies for retaining the significance in any new use, management regime or proposed alteration of the building/site. It should include a conservation statement, i.e. a statement of what features etc are in the building and their significance, i.e. why they are important, and what issues need to be addressed to conserve the integrity of the building and its various heritage features, and what needs to be done as a result. A description of the existing fabric and construction details should be included.  

A conservation specification and conservation method statement should also be included in the report.

All works must have regard to the Architectural Heritage Protection Guidelines and Advice Series produced by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht