The site of the proposed development.

Residential plans revealed for former Carmelite building

A new residential project is proposed for a former Carmelite building in Moate, a newly-published planning notice has revealed.

Keenan Homes Ltd has signalled its intentions to lodge an application for a “multi-unit residential scheme” comprising of a total of 23 units on a 0.59-hectare site at what's described as the former Carmelite Monastery, a listed building, at Legan, The Newtown, Moate.

The project would involve, according to the planning notice, the demolition of two separate two-storey dormitory buildings and two agricultural buildings on the site, along with modifications to what's described as the former Carmelite Monastery residential building consisting of remodelling, reuse and an extension of the three-storey premises which is a protected structure. It's envisaged as part of the plans that this would become home to nine apartments, made up of four two-bed units and five one-bed units.

The second element of the application would cover the construction of 14 new two-storey semi-detached dwellings to the rear or east of the protected structure dating back to 1800, according to its listing in the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH), which documents and provides a description of listed buildings countrywide.

Its entry for what is called the Carmelite Monastery in Moate details that it is a detached eight-bay two-storey over basement house, built circa 1800 and extended to the south and altered around 1870.

While the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage website points out that the premises may have been originally built as a house during the early years of the 19th century, it was later in use as a monastery (1837).

It was greatly extended to the south with a breakfront, defined in architectural terms as a building with sections that protrudes, usually in thirds which was added around 1870, shortly after the associated Carmelite church was completed to the north. It, the building, is indicated as a ‘convent’ at this time, the NIAH listing also says.

“This building is an important physical reminder of the history of the Carmelite community and their social/educational role in Moate since the early nineteenth century. This monastery forms part of an important pair of related structures with the associated church and remains an integral element of the built heritage of the local area,” it explains.

In an architectural appraisal, the NIAH draws attention to its early form and importance to the streetscape, its front facade which is enhanced by the timber sash and Wyatt windows. The multiple-paned windows to the rear are described as an “interesting and unusual feature” of the protected building.

Site works including parking and communal amenity space, will be included in the new application along with hard and soft landscaping, boundary treatments and groundworks. The plans must be lodged with Westmeath County Council within a fortnight of the planning notice being published.

Part of the proposed development is located within an Architectural Conservation Area, the planning notice also indicates.