Move to preserve Limavady RAF buildings

Presenter Dan Snow at the former Coastal Command Base in Limavady. '0805Sj77
Presenter Dan Snow at the former Coastal Command Base in Limavady. '0805Sj77

Moves are underway by Limavady Council to see what can be done to preserve some of the borough’s historical buildings which played a part in WWII.  

Local councillors agreed this week that; “Council writes to the appropriate authority to start the process of listing and preservation for some of the unique buildings on the former RAF Limavady and associated sites...”. Last month some of the buildings at Aghanloo featured on a BBC programme hosted by Dan Snow.

DUP Colr. James McCorkell initiated the move with a motion calling for Council to start the process itself, but after discussion there was an amendment to the motion from SDLP Colr. Michael Coyle who said Council didn’t have the power to list buildings.

Colr. McCorkell said there were three reasons for his call - historical, heritage and economic. 

“The area played a key role in the Battle of the Atlantic,” he said. “In fact the route from Limavady to Londonderry has an abundance of sites from the time of the second World War. Areas including Magilligan, Ballykelly, Greysteel, Eglinton, Maydown and Lisahally, all carry stories and bear the relics of that period.” 

He said Limavady was specifically used by RAF Coastal Command to combat the threat of Nazi U-Boats to shipping in the Atlantic. Referring to the control tower and anti-aircraft gunners training dome at Aghanloo he said Council had a duty not to let them fall into further dereliction. He said the Limavady dome was one of only two that had survived, the other located in Langham and is listed by the DoE. 

He said the corridor should be used to attract visitors to the area, creating a “mini tourist hub at Aghanloo”. 

“If we could bring just one bus load of visitors from the city each week, those visitors would bring with them cash which they would spend in our cafes and shops. They might even take an overnight stay in one of our hotels, who knows?”

Colr. Coyle said the motion was well intentioned, but he had a few difficulties with it. He said it wasn’t the remit of Council to list buildings, and said if they were to go down that road there would be cost of restoration and maintenance  and that would mean spending ratepayers’ money. 

Ulster Unionist Edwin Stevenson agreed the motion was well intentioned, but thought it naive. 

SDLP Colr. Gerry Mullan said he lives across from the dome and would Iove to see a museum there, but said the timing was wrong. Plus, he said there may be issues with private ownership. 

After discussion, councillors agreed to amend the motion so Council would write to the appropriate authority to start the process of listing and preservation.