The Chief Executive of Mayo County Council has stated that he will make the vacant convent site in Westport one of his priorities in 2018, after calls were made to develop or sell the site.
The Convent of Mercy site in Westport was purchased by Mayo County Council in 2008 for €4 million with initial proposals to relocate the town library and civic offices to the site. However plans to redevelop it have not yet been implemented, and the building has fallen into disrepair in recent years.
Westport-based councillor Christy Hyland raised the issue of the derelict convent site at last week’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council and was informed by Chief Executive Peter Hynes, that developing the site was one of the priority projects which the council will be looking at in the New Year.
Mr Hynes’ announcement was welcomed by Cllr Hyland who said the site has been left vacant for too long and it was time to either develop it or sell it on.
“The building and the site has become an eye-sore and it is time something was developed and built or sell it on. Something has to start happening because it has gone on too long and the way it has been left derelict is wrong. Mr Hynes said it will become a priority and I welcome this but I will continue to push this issue in the New Year until I get concrete proposals. We talk about derelict sites in Westport being an eyesore but the council are one of the worst offenders,” he said.
The council offices are currently located on Altamont Street and have been described by Cllr Hyland as being past their ‘sell by date’. He said the council currently pay between €60,000 and €70,000 per year for the offices and felt it was not value for money.
The convent grounds are now a known drinking den for teenagers and Cllr Hyland said as a result the building was also being vandalised.