ICONIC Healy’s Hotel in Pontoon is to be demolished to allow for new development.
The go-ahead has been given to demolish the 19th-century Healy’s Hotel in Pontoon and develop a new hotel, despite initial misgivings by Mayo County Council to the plan.
The former hotel building on the shore of Lough Cullin will be demolished to make way for a new 14-bedroom hotel along with a bar, lounge and restaurant after planning permission was granted by Mayo County Council.
The existing building has been open to the public since the 1840s as a bar, hotel and restaurant and fishing lodge. It has been vacant for some time but was purchased by Mayo-born businessman, Michael Cusack and his business partner John Reddington.
Their company, Pontoon Anglers Hotel Ltd, submitted the application and they stated the determination to reinvigorate the business and create ‘much-needed employment’ was driving them to invest ‘significant funds’ into the premises.
Approval for the demolition of the existing building was granted despite Mayo County Council earlier outlining to the developers their reservations. In a letter to the developers dated September 7, 2017, the planning section referred to the historical significance of the existing building and stated they had ‘serious reservations regarding the design, scale, height and massing of the proposed development as it stands’.
“In summary, Mayo County Council strongly advises against the demolition of the existing building on site. Instead it is considered that the applicant should consider the refurbishment of the existing building with a sympathetic extension,” the letter stated.
The proposal to demolish the existing core building was met with opposition with two submissions received by Mayo County Council. Éilís Healy with an address in Clonskeagh, Co Dublin, stated she looked forward to a revitalised hotel but felt the demolition was not warranted or desirable.
An Architectural Design Statement submitted on behalf of the applicants stated they originally wished to retain and refurbish the existing structure. However, they stated that the current building has a number of shortfalls in relation to current building regulation requirements and in its current form is ‘unfeasible as a business venture’.
The building was not included on the Record of Protected Structures and there is no protection on the building. In assessing the application, Mayo County Council stated the applicants provided a re-design of the original proposals which is ‘more acceptable’ to the council.
They noted that it was not possible to comply with the current building regulations if the existing building was to be refurbished and agreed it was only achievable by demolition and rebuild. Planning permission was granted on April 30 subject to 22 conditions.