Briery Gap Theatre rebuild to bring months of disruption to businesses in Macroom

A number of businesses in Macroom are facing disruption due to work to rebuild a fire-damaged theatre there.

Briery Gap Theatre rebuild to bring months of disruption to businesses in Macroom

A number of businesses in Macroom are facing disruption due to work to rebuild a fire-damaged theatre there.

Senior council officials have admitted they will have to close off a section of the street in the mid-Cork town close to the Briery Gap to facilitate a contractor who will work on rebuilding it.

They said that the cost of the redevelopment would be considerably higher if the contractor was forced to constantly bring in materials from elsewhere, rather than storing them next to the building.

This is why they want to close off part of the street to allow him to develop a storage compound. It is also likely that a large crane will be required to be situated there.

News of the disruption, which could last 12 to 16 months, was given to councillors at a Macroom Municipal District Council meeting.

It emerged when the council's executive architect Mary O'Brien briefed councillors on plans to redevelop the Briery Gap, which was extensively damaged by a fire three years ago.

The refurbished building will be increased to three storeys high and will be designed to be fully disability-friendly. There will also be a larger central foyer and a much larger bar area.

A model of the new building will shortly go on display at Macroom Town Hall.

Ms O'Brien said that it was hoped to put the project out to tender later this year and have a contractor on site next January.

"We're aware it's going to cause a certain amount of disruption," Ms O'Brien said.

"If the contractor has to constantly travel distances to get materials then it would be very costly."

Other council officials said they would be engaging with local businesses.

They said that a number of parking spaces would be lost in the street because they would be taken over by the compound area.

They added that a space would be left so a small forklift truck would be able to bring supplies into local businesses.

Cllr Michael Creed said he was concerned it "could do a lot of damage" to some of the nearby businesses. He maintained they would be up in arms when they heard the news.

However, he said it was hard to see what could be done given the location of the building.

"It's very important that you continue to consult with the businesses throughout the project," Cllr Gobnait Moynihan told officials.

They said as soon as the contractor had drawn up his construction plans they would again carry out a round of public consultation.

Ms O'Brien said construction was dependent on a government grant.

However, senior officials said council chief executive, Tim Lucey, was prepared to finance it entirely from the council's own funds if necessary and the project would go ahead regardless of when the grant-aid was forthcoming.

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