Members of Bundoran Town Council have decided not to proceed with the purchase of St. Patrick’s Hall, a matter they have been considering for well over a year.
Town Manager Garry Martin circulated a report on the issue to members at Tuesday’s monthly meeting.
He said: “There are two distinct issues at play here which have been brought together, incorrectly, from my perspective. One is the access road to the church car park. The other is the hall itself. He noted that completion of the link road was part of the planning conditions associated with the extension of the church and “not subject to council taking over the link road”.
He was, he said: “quite happy to pursue the takeover of the road on a standalone basis” but stressed “it cannot be associated with issue of purchase of the hall, which is a separate and distinct issue”.
Although there were discussions between his predecessor and Canon Munster in 2009, “no formal decision was taken by the Town Manager to make the purchase”. It is, he added, “the function of the Town Manager to make such decisions”.
Mr Martin added: “What I wanted to ascertain was that any purchase, at the suggested price of €500,000, would represent value for money and what works would need to be completed so that the building would be suitable for the groups wanting to use it.”
He said that the independent study carried out showed that it would cost €360,000 less to build on a green field site. “My recommendation at the time was that it was a purchase that we should not proceed with.”
A final decision was put back, however, to allow Canon Munster undertake a study of his own and have remedial works done. These were completed in May.
“We’ve reviewed that and are satisfied that it doesn’t compare like with like. I’m very happy with our independent assessment and happy to stand over that. The proposal to purchase and refurbish the hall would not be cost-effective and doesn’t represent value for money. It’s an old building which, despite substantial investment, would remain an old building, with inadequate parking and possibly not be suitable for future needs. A new build on a greenfield site would cost less.”
Council members agreed with his recommendation. Full report in tomorrow’s (Thursday) Donegal Democrat.