Plans have been submitted for the new Creative Hub for Enterprise Causeway on the site of the old Bushmills Courthouse, with work scheduled to begin on site in September.
The hub, which has secured more than €5m funding via the Interreg Peace IV initiative, will offer a vibrant creative space for like-minded designer-makers to work collaboratively to ‘make, market, educate and support’.
The Co Antrim village of Bushmills, originally known as Portcaman, dates from Norman times and is famous for the Old Bushmills Distillery, which welcomes around 120,000 visitors every year.
The courthouse was constructed in 1834 by the Macnaghten family of nearby Dundarave House and served as a Petty Session Court, cell house and accommodation for local police. It has been derelict since the Sixties.
In the new design, an extension with rendered walls and a pitched zinc roof will provide an additional 1,200sqm of space carefully designed to complement the Grade B1 listed Georgian building.
The ground floor will be expressed in Indian granite, referencing the basalt prevalent throughout the Causeway Coast & Glens area, along with a cantilever on the same level to maximise outdoor space and facilitate the creation of a community garden.
The courthouse itself will be carefully restored with new traditional timber sliding sash windows, lime rendered elevations and a traditional ‘ruled-and-lined’ rendered ground floor to the front elevation. The unique natural stone classical porch will be sensitively repaired.
Set to achieve a BREEAM rating of ‘Very Good’, there will be space for 13 micro businesses, café and retail space. A large sub-dividable space on the top floor with views of the River Bush provides a large multi-purpose space.
The plan dedicates around 300sqm (a quarter of the floor area) to provision of ‘Shared Space’ activities which focus on community cohesion and the development of new ideas and skills.
Enterprise Causeway’s vision for the project is re-energise the community, create new jobs and build a new peaceful and prosperous economy for people across the Causeway Coast and Glen Borough and border area.