“If someone has a master plan and the money to develop the Royal Hotel site into a hotel – we are all ears”.
These were the words of Roscommon County Council Director of Services Martin Lydon at last Friday’s Boyle Municipal District meeting when the future of the former Royal Hotel was discussed.
Mr Lydon told the elected members at the meeting in Boyle that 67% of the submissions they received wanted to see a new hotel on the site of the existing premises.
This may not be possible he said, drawing the members attention to the existence of a flood plain that “was not drawn up by the council but by experienced consultants”. He could go back to the consultants again but he would get the same answer – the Royal Hotel site is situated on a flood plain.
Mr Lydon also said that the licence for the hotel expired in 2010 and that the “Council do not run or build hotels.”
The local authority, he said, would be suggesting a mix of build and community space on the site.
He did note that a hotel in itself was not the only answer to Boyle’s problems. The town needed to look at a number of things including the retail mix to get footfall back into the town centre again.
Among the submissions received for the site were a new hotel development, refurbishment of the hotel, public amenity space for the community, B&B accommodation, new commercial premises, museum for music and film and a refuge and rehabilitation centre.
Councillor John Cummins said he was delighted that the people of Boyle have had the opportunity to make an input through the public consultation process.
He said he was aware of other parties who had looked at buying the former hotel but due to legal problems they had withdrawn. He asked Mr Lydon would the Council talk to anyone still interested to which Mr Lydon replied as quoted at the outset.
Councillor Rachel Doherty was not fully satisfied that all avenues had not been explored on the flood risk situation. She would like to see further investigation to “assure the public that it was not feasible for a hotel”.
Councillor Michael Mulligan suggested the site be “used to show a profit” and suggested “a casino or slot machines” referring to the success of Bundoran.
Councillor Valerie Byrne was of the opinion that a 10/12 bedroom hotel was needed on the site and still put the remainder to community use. She cautioned rushing into “something and being sorry after”.
Councillors Liam Callaghan and Joe Murphy agreed with all the other Councillors that Boyle needed a hotel with a function room.
It is understood that the Town Centre Planning Unit will unveil draft proposals for future usage of the site in May 2018 after which they will go on display, with the Council to tender for site development in September 2018.
Mr Lydon noted that the reason for putting the Royal Hotel site on the meeting’s agenda was so the Councillors could “note the submissions”.
“The Town Centre Planning Unit are excited at the opportunities the site presents”. “Currently there is a site survey being conducted and only when the survey has been completed can the council determine if the existing premises can be salvaged”. “I suggest we now let planning unit do their work and come up with solutions and at that stage we will come back to the elected members” he concluded.