Green light for nursing home at Millrace Hotel
Those behind a campaign to prevent The Millrace Hotel in Bunclody from being turned into a nursing home were dealt a blow this week as it emerged that the application had been approved by Wexford County Council.
The application was lodged by Kildare based company Prudent Healthcare back in June and aimed to transform the 60 bedroom hotel into a 59 bedroom nursing home with various internal alterations including the construction of four story extension, incorporating a lift and sluice rooms and the provision of a private garden space for residents. The application was approved on Thursday, much to the disappointment of those behind the 'Save Our Hotel' campaign.
'I suppose I half expected it, considering the zoning laws' said committee member Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy. 'I think there was shock that it happened so quickly. Some of the committee members were gob-smacked. They thought because there were so many objections lodged, that the council would refuse.'
Over 50 observations were lodged by members of the community in Bunclody and now, Cllr Murphy says that they must plan what the next step is going to be at a public meeting at The Rivers Edge on August 7 at 8 p.m.
'I suppose we have to see where we go from here,' she said. 'Everyone who put in an observation is entitled to appeal the decision. We just need to find out whether people want to get planning advice and pursue the matter further. It would be costly to employ a planning consultant, but that will be discussed at the meeting.'
In the meantime, Cllr Murphy says that Bunclody is already feeling the effects of having no hotel, along with the recent closure of Newtownbarry House and gardens.
'We need a hotel,' she said. 'There was a group of golfers who were in touch recently about somewhere to stay. When they found out that there was no hotel locally, they're now probably going to go elsewhere. That's a group of forty golfers who would've spent a bit of money while they were in town here.'
The Save Our Hotel group have always been keen to point out that they don't object to a nursing home in the area, just not at the expense of the hotel. Mr John Dargan of Prudent Healthcare has pointed out that up to 80 jobs could be created at the nursing home.
Among the conditions attached to the granting of the application is that the 'pumping system providing water to The Mall stream shall be maintained indefinitely', something which Cllr Murphy says is of vital importance to the town.