Town Hall confusion in Newbridge

Potential uses for the soon-to-be-renovated Town Hall was cause for concern at last week’s Newbridge town council meeting.

Potential uses for the soon-to-be-renovated Town Hall was cause for concern at last week’s Newbridge town council meeting.

Newbridge town manager, John Laharte, said it was time to “stop skirting around the issue and decide” on its use. However, the town’s Mayor Murty Aspell insisted that the end use has always been for new civic offices.

“To see that the town council in this town has civic offices of their own,” he said. “Anything else can come after. We’ve been mickey mousing around for too long. I will ask for that as my priority until our term is up.”

However, the Town Manager said that the other uses for the town hall need to be complimentary to the civic offices and “a decision needs to be made on these”.

“I will put together a report in the next six to eight weeks on the potential uses for the new Town Hall,” he said.

Cllr Damian Molyneaux suggested that the councillors take a visit to the nearby and flourishing town hall in Naas for some ideas.

“It’s flying,” he said. “They have a country market on a Friday, Irish dancing on a Monday and it is a real money spinner - maybe we should go over and see it?”

Cllr Pat Black said that there was already an existing plan for civic offices for the town hall which was drawn up and paid for some years ago.

“We are re-inventing the wheel,” he said.

Cllr Willie Hamiliton and Cllr Emma Kiernan asked if the process could be speeded up a little.

“Any work that can be tendered out could we do it now?” asked Cllr Hamilton.

The town manager agreed to come back to next month’s meeting with a plan of action on the other potential uses for the landmark building.

“The civic offices is only a small area of the town hall,” he said. “It is a huge building and we need to discuss what else is going to go in there.” Cllr Kiernan proposed that a special meeting be held half an hour before the next monthly meeting to discuss other potential uses for the town hall and this was seconded by Cllr Hamilton.

- Paul O’Meara