THERE are plans to turn a former church in Macroom into a flexible space for exhibitions and recitals, complete with a viewing tower.
At a recent meeting of the Macroom Municipal District, councillors were given an outline of plans for St Colman’s Church on Castle Street, which was gifted to the town by the Church of Ireland in 1992.
In the intervening years there have been calls to turn the building into a live music venue, art centre and even a nightclub, but now concrete plans are in place to utilise it for the community.
Council executive architect Mary O’Brien told councillors that any works on the building, which has been vacant for a number of years, would be ‘very light touch.’
‘It’s at a prime location and the building has been derelict for some time, but it’s in reasonable condition inside and our development proposal is very light,’ she said.
‘We are going to keep it very open plan and we want to try and repurpose the tower to create access to it that will offer views out to the river, park and town,’ she explained.
The plans include creating an open flexible space for exhibitions, recitals and other community events with universal access to the building being a priority.
The upper level of an existing extension would be also repurposed for toilets, an informal meeting area and a tea station for those working in the building, while the landscape outside the protected building will also be very ‘light touch’.
Ms O’Brien said the re-use of this prominent building makes it a ‘sustainable approach.’
Cllr Michael Creed (FG) said this would be an excellent project for Macroom and that it looked great from the drawings presented to them, while Cllr Martin Coughlan (Ind) said it is great to see the tower being brought back into use as he had previously been up there.
‘We’ve always been looking for a project like this and there is a fantastic view from the top of the tower and it will be a great tourist attraction for the town,’ said Cllr Coughlan.
Cllr Gobnait Moynihan (FF) said they look like very exciting plans and felt assured that the building itself will be preserved.
Senior executive officer Nicola Radley said they are delighted to bring this forward and they are presenting the building as a ‘flexible space’ and don’t want to define its use.
‘By keeping it flexible, it will allow us create a real vibrancy for that part of the town and it’s a transformative project for the community of Macroom,’ she said.
It is expected that it will be submitted for Part 8 planning in the New Year.