Fears for future of historic house

Fears have been expressed that one of Cork’s most iconic buildings will fall down if council chiefs do not row back on a decision not to revamp it.

Spa House in Mallow — which the county council used as an office to advise households and businesses on energy efficiency — was closed a few years ago when it was discovered it had dangerous levels of radon.

County councillors this week asked what plans officials have to refurbish it and rid it of the potentially harmful gas. They were shocked with the reply they received.

Cllr John Paul O’Shea (Ind) led the clamour to have it reopened, but was told the council didn’t have the money.

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“We were informed it will cost approximately €400,000 to rectify the radon issues and the infrastructural works such as roof repairs, electrical and plumbing works, along with adherence to fire regulations identified,” Mr O’Shea said.

Spa House was built in mock tudor-style in 1828 over a hot spring well which was said to have curative powers. Water from the spa was one of the reasons Mallow became a favoured holiday location during the period 1730 to 1810.

Council officials said in recent years they had tried to find solutions to rectify the radon problem.

Engineers surveying the building also raised concerns about its “structural integrity”.

Mr O’Shea said it was vital that money be found to reopen the building. He received unanimous support from colleagues on the council’s Northern Division to ask officials to reconsider their decision.

Mr O’Shea said the house couldn’t be abandoned “because it is an integral part of the history of Mallow and we should not leave it deteriorate even further”. He said works on Spa House might be eligible for EU funding under the Sustainable Urban Development and asked that officials look into this.

“I will also be speaking with the council’s chief executive, Tim Lucey, on this in the coming days as I believe we need to have it at the top of our agenda. It is crucial that we can reopen the Spa House to the public as soon as is practically possible,” Mr O’Shea said.

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