A derelict estate with a boarded up manor standing in the depths of the Dungannon countryside is turning into a real life mystery.
Drumglass House, which has formerly been used as a hospital, is in danger of ruin after suffering years of neglect.
The Department of Environment’s Environmental Crime Unit (ECU) launched a probe into the listed three storey building’s ownership after issuing an Urgent Works ‘final warning’ letter in May 2013.
However, after two years of investigating, the agency has drawn a blank, now saying that the building is ‘essentially ownerless’ and will revert to the Crown.
In a desperate bid to save the historic building, the ECU has contacted Dungannon District Council requesting the council take over its ownership, however, no reply has been received.
The Minister of Environment Mark H Durkan said: “The building certainly requires urgent attention to prevent further loss of fabric.
“Council representatives have been contacted again by NIEA officials on 11 February this year, but they have not provided any further updates.
“I am advised by my officials that working with the local council is the only course of action open to the department at this time.
“I have therefore asked officials to engage with the council as a priority and to keep me informed.”
The building, originally a sanatorium, is situated close to a day-centre for adults with learning disabilities.
According to a report produced by the Southern Health Trust the accommodation has severe physical and environmental constraints in providing for the specialist needs of its day care attenders.
For the past year, DUP peer Maurice Morrow has been lobbying vociferously on behalf of the day centre’s staff, clients and their relatives to have action taken over the building.
“It is casting a metaphorical shadow over the site and rendering the area gloomy, dank and miserable”, he said.
“This is causing an oppressive atmosphere which is difficult for those using Oakridge, whose particular sensitivities must be considered.
“Whilst the building is listed as of historical importance it is disused and in disrepair, although I’m advised it is structurally safe.
“Given it’s positioning I feel it is imperative some sort of remedial action is taken to either reactivate the structure as functional, which I understanding will be extremely costly, or else have it demolished.
“I do not like the idea of losing a building of historical nature, but it is slowly crumbling away and it is no tribute to it’s craftsmanship in it’s current state.
“Common sense needs to take over and primary consideration given to the impact this matter is having on those affected by the structure.