THE future of the derelict former Mallow Park Hotel has again come under the spotlight after the local town council was urged to take control of the premises "once and for all".
The issue was raised at the town's October monthly meeting by Cllr Jerry Mullally (Lab) who said, given the money owed to the council on the premises, they could "probably get it for nothing".
The building has remained idle since its sudden closure in 2007, and was gutted in 2011 following two fires within the space of a few months.
Cllr Mullally said that while the building is up for sale, the protected status of its façade has put prospective buyers off.
"With this in mind, I believe that purchasing the site for the people of Mallow would be a great idea. I feel sure that given the expertise within this council there would be no shortage of suggestions for its future use," he added.
Cllr James Kennedy (Lab) agreed, expressing his doubt that a private buyer would ever be found for the premises.
"I am wondering if we would have the power to put a compulsory purchase order on the site, because otherwise it looks as though it is likely to remain derelict for years," said Cllr Kennedy.
"If not, is there a chance that Mallow Town Council and Cork County Council could make an offer for the site?" he asked.
Cllr Ronan Sheehan (Lab) said it was clear this issue was "going nowhere fast".
"The fact is private buyers will stay away because of the extra costs associated with renovating a protected building," he said.
"This council needs to take some positive action because this building is a real eyesore in the heart of this town," he added.
However, Sinn Fein's Melissa Mullane expressed her concern at the possibility of the cash-strapped council shelling out money to buy the former hotel.
"I am a little weary about this. The public purse is tight enough as it is. We also need to ask if we could afford to do it up and, if so, what would we do with it," she asked.
Cllr Mullally pointed out there was already a lot of money owed to the council on the building.
"We have shelled out to make it safe and I presume we are owed money through commercial rates and the derelict sites levy," he said.
"If right was right, we could probably get the building for nothing," he added.
Town Manager Tom Stritch said he would compile a report on the options open to the council in relation to the site for the November council meeting.