Ballinrobe Town Hall committee, who have purchased the old Valkenburg complex on Main Street, are progressing their plans to transform the building into a town hall – and now they have appealed to people with an interest in the town to complete a short survey supporting a funding application for the project.

The committee is applying for funding under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund (RRDF) and an extensive public consultation is a key element of the process.

“This week, we will circulate a short survey to establish the community’s views on various aspects of the development. It is also to make it clear that the community supports the project fully,” said Michael Sweeney, chairperson, Ballinrobe Town Hall.

“The survey takes less than five minutes and will be publicised on the Town Hall’s social media channels, as well as on various other high-profile pages in the area.

“Additionally, you can access it here: We would be very grateful to all with an interest in Ballinrobe who can complete the survey and thus assist our application.

“We are confident our application meets the criteria of the RRDF, including an emphasis on ‘town centre first’, rural regeneration, increased footfall and improvement of building occupancy.

“To date, we have secured public funding commitments to the value of €950,000 – €750,000 from Dept of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media and €200,000 from Mayo County Council. Additionally, we have collected €400,000 in community donations locally.

“We are teaming up with South West Mayo Development Company, who are leading this RRDF application on our behalf.”

Ballinrobe has fought a lengthy campaign to restore its town hall. The old hall closed in 1996.

“As everyone locally knows, we had originally intended to build on the site of the old town hall on The Neale Road, but building costs were proving very expensive. The Valkenburg came on the market in July 2020, and we decided to pursue this as a possible venue for the new hall,” added Micheal.

In a letter to donors, the committee outlined several benefits of the Valkenburg as a venue. These include the potential to develop a multi-purpose space; ample space for dressing rooms to support shows, along with community and other events throughout the complex; 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.

Now the focus is on making the necessary amendments to maximise the potential of the building as a town hall.

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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