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Demolition of 19th-century Healy’s Hotel opposed


Anton McNulty

THE developers who plan to demolish the 19th-century Healy’s Hotel in Pontoon and develop a new building say there was no viable option but to demolish the old building.
The former Healy’s Hotel, which has been vacant for some time was purchased by Mayo-born businessman Michael Cusack and his business partner John Reddington. The pair plan on developing the historic lake side property.
The existing building has been open to the public since the 1840s as a bar, hotel and restaurant.
Earlier this year, their company Pontoon Anglers Hotel Ltd submitted detailed plans to Mayo County Council to demolish the existing ‘core’ structure to develop a new 14-bedroom hotel. However, these plans were opposed, and an objection was lodged with the planning authority.
The new owners said that the determination to reinvigorate the business and create ‘much-needed employment’ was driving them to invest ‘significant funds’ into the premises.
“We’re very determined to make this a project that will benefit the local community. We have strong ties to the area, and both of us are confident that the new business can be a success. It will provide a significant number of full-time and part-time jobs, and there is great potential in the area, but the development of this project into a viable long-term business is crucial to the future,” stated Mr Cusack, who is originally from Bofeenaun and is now based in the UK.
In reference to the decision to decide to demolish the building, the new owners stated they originally intended to refurbish the existing building and extend. However, an extensive appraisal by locally-based consultants found that demolition was the only way to ‘deliver a safe, compliant and viable building’.
The proposed development will consist of a newly constructed two-storey building, to include a public bar/lounge/restaurant, a dining room, 14 guest bedrooms and ancillary accommodation.
Mayo County Council received a submission from Éilis Healy with an address in Clonskeagh, Co Dublin, opposing the plans to demolish the original building. She stated that while she looked forward to a revitalised ‘Angler’s Hotel’, she does not believe the proposed development will meet the standards desired for an area of ‘undeniable visual amenity’.
The new owners believe that if planning permission is given for the new development, work in the site will commence later this year. Mayo County Council is due to give its decision on the new proposal by mid September.