A ‘major milestone’ has been reached in Ballinrobe as Mayo County Council has granted planning permission for the rebuilding of Ballinrobe Town Hall.
It is now full steam ahead for the committee in charge of the project which will include an auditorium and main hall area with seating for over 400 people and a number of meeting rooms.
Following the granting of planning permission, the focus now shifts to securing public, private and community funding to make the hall a reality.
The committee have estimated that €400,000 will need to be raised from private and community sources to complement public funding and a fundraising plan will shortly be announced.
Speaking about the good news, committee chairperson Michael Sweeney said they will now be ‘rallying public and private support so that Ballinrobe can once again have a town hall capable of hosting a wide variety of local events’.
Sweeney described the most recent development in the project as a ‘major milestone’ and said they now aim to enlist the financial support of people from the region who live elsewhere in Ireland or outside the country.
“We will soon launch a fundraising plan that we believe will attract widespread support because all the indications from our public consultation engagement were that Ballinrobe people feel a town hall is badly needed.”
Along with ground floor seating there will be a provision for balcony seating at first floor level.
The main auditorium will possess the capacity for sub-division in order to allow a variety of uses at any one time.
The plans were drawn up by Ballinrobe-based chartered architectural and planning consultant Donal McCormack.
Local councillors Patsy O’Brien and Damien Ryan have both welcomed the news and are unanimous in their support for the project.
“This is the first step of a lot of stage and the next move will be funding. Hopefully the LEADER programme will help, but there has to be major fundraising by the community itself,” said Cllr O’Brien.
Cllr Ryan noted that the application for planning was granted with ‘minimal conditions’ and the Mayo County Council Chief Executive Peter Hynes has made a ‘firm commitment’ in supporting the project.
“It’s coming in with a reasonable price tag for what’s involved and it is realistic for a town with a population of over 3,000,” said Ryan.
Anyone who would like a copy of the town hall prospectus can obtain one by calling to Sli Nua Careers on Glebe Street or it can be viewed online at http://goo.gl/HIImCs.