Friday, July 22, 2022

The building earmarked for Ballinrobe’s new Town Hall is to re-open temporarily for events over the coming months

The building earmarked for Ballinrobe’s new Town Hall is to re-open temporarily for events over the coming months.

Ballinrobe Town Hall committee, who purchased the Valkenburg complex on the town’s Main Street in 2020 with money raised locally, have confirmed that parts of the venue are now available to host events that do not require a bar licence or catering facilities.

“We have a major redevelopment plan in place for the Valkenburg, and, in tandem with South West Mayo Development Company (SWMDC), we recently applied for €4.5m in funding from the Rural Regeneration Development Fund (RRDF). If this application is successful, we will match the grant amount with €1.2m funding, some of which is already in place, to convert the venue into something that will transform the centre of the town and prove an invaluable asset for the region,” said Michael Sweeney, chairperson.

“Our plan includes the development of a multi-purpose space with ample dressing rooms to support shows, along with community and other events throughout the complex. In particular, we have highlighted the building’s central location in the town; extensive car parking space on the street and in adjacent car parks (Church Lane, Christian Brothers and Abbey Street); and the potential for income from accommodation and a coffee shop/bistro in the venue.

“The RRDF announcement will come in late autumn or early winter. In the meantime, we are carrying out renovation work that will allow certain events to take place in the Valkenburg, and we have already had enquiries from various local groups.

“These events will be ones that do not require a bar licence or catering facilities. We are applying for a dance licence to facilitate teenage discos and believe it is worth investing in renovating the venue to allow for this.

“There is a need for an event space in Ballinrobe and we are trying to meet this need as best we can in the short term, before we embark on a major redevelopment”.

SWMDC are the lead partner in the RRDF application, and Michael paid tribute to Sabina Trench and Norita Clesham from SWMDC for their “unstinting efforts in navigating a demanding application process.”

He added: “We have made a strong case that this development is crucial for Ballinrobe. Government policy supports town centre initiatives. The Valkenburg is at the very heart of Ballinrobe. The hall will rejuvenate the centre of town and act as a stimulus for further development.”

Anyone interested in supporting this major project should contact Chairperson Michael Sweeney (087 2588 615) or Secretary Siobhan O’Malley (087 207 2307).

Directors: Chairperson Michael Sweeney, Secretary Siobhan O’Malley, Treasurer Sean O’Connell, PRO Liam Horan, Cllr Michael Burke (Vice-chairperson), Margot O’Shea, Sheena Duddy and Des May.

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