As Chair of the Donaghadee Town Steering Group I am thrilled about the Council’s decision to grant planning application to regenerate The Moat. The applications success will allow the retention of its iconic status within the town while adding it to Donaghadee’s growing tourism offering.
This decision to grant planning permission to improve the surrounding lands of The Moat and renovate and develop the building into Northern Ireland’s only Camera Obscura, is an exciting big step for the project.
Generations of my family, residents and visitors have climbed The Moat to enjoy the view over Northern Ireland’s best loved harbour and lighthouse, and wondered what lies behind the metal front door of what is officially known as The Old Gunpowder Store, but we know as The Moat.
Truth is that there isn’t much to see in the building at the moment – and it is in a fairly poor state of repair both inside and out. However, if in the first instance we can regenerate the building and the area around it, we believe we will have a great project which could attract the funding required to make it a reality.”
We have always attracted tourists to our town but we know we need to continue growing the tourism infrastructure to serve the needs of today’s day trippers and tourists.
The harbour and lighthouse attract visitors and now we have a selection of wonderful shops and restaurants to encourage them to spend more money with us while they are here. The addition of the Camera Obscura within the Moat, and other plans for upgrades and additional attractions such as the Sir Samuel Kelly that are being worked through at the moment, could only add to the already existing reasons to visit our town.
The Council will now be in a position to work up a business case for the work required including a Camera Obscura, and if funding can be secured, i believe the project could be completed within two years.