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Saturday 17 August 2019

Old schoolhouse is a protected structure - but it's falling down

The original building of the former Cloghoula N.S., Millstreet, as it appears in 2012. Credit: Photo: Seán Radley
The original building of the former Cloghoula N.S., Millstreet, as it appears in 2012. Credit: Photo: Seán Radley

MARIA HERLIHY

A MILLSTREET based councillor strongly queried the tag of a disused derelict closed national school being classified as 'protected,' when it was falling down.

That was a question posed by Cllr Noel buckley at Cork County Council this week.

Cllr Noel Buckley (FG) said that Cloghoula national school, which was built in 1802, and was also used as a petrol station was now "a total eyesore."

"I was told it was a protected structure, but just what is it protected from? The windows are not there and the door is ajar so, really, what exactly is it protected from?" posed Cllr Buckley.

He along with Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG) raised the issue at County Hall on Monday morning.

Cllr Buckley said that residents were at either side and opposite the derelict building.

"The problem with this school was that the council had put up a notice for the owner to repair it and would be sent the bill but, sure, nothing happened. Then, I was told it was a protected structure," he said.

A letter was circulated at the meeting by John O'Neill, Director of Services, Planning Department in reply to a previously raised motion on the derelict building raised by Cllr Buckley.

Mr O'Neill wrote that under Section 57 (10) (8) of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, it is stated that a planning authority, or the board on appeal, shall not grant permission for the demolition of a protected structure or proposed protected structure, save in exceptional circumstances.

Cllr Buckley said there was no room for a septic tank. He said he was aware of a potential buyer but once the tag of protected structure was put on the derelict building in reality means that "no one will touch it."

Cllr Buckley also said it was his colleague, Cllr Tom Sheahan (FG) who was the auctioneer of the property.

Cllr Buckley said the only way for the problem to be brought to an end was to de-list it.

County Manager Martin Riordan said, in general, Cork County Council tends to shy away from de-listing items that are in the County Development Plan and it is only done as the legislation outlined "in exceptional circumstances."

He suggested that works maybe able to be carried out without having the building de-listed.

"We could try and work something out with the owner. If we start de-listing buildings then we will have 10 other applications through to us.

"This is an exceptional case, and maybe we should get the owner and members to meet with the Director of Planning to try and resolve it," said Mr Riordan.

It was decided that a proposed further meeting with the owner and council to further discuss the matter.

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