Historic Naas building is on the market

THE disused Market House in Naas is on the market for a fraction of the price it was bought for by current owner Pat Keane.

THE disused Market House in Naas is on the market for a fraction of the price it was bought for by current owner Pat Keane.

The house, which was the subject of an ambitious plan for a restaurant and bar, is for sale with a guide price of E250,000.

It’s being advertised as an old world premises in a high profile location adjoining the canal harbour and with full planning permission for a 9,000 square foot bar and restaurant.

Once the home of the late Enda and Evelyn Bracken and their family, it is a significant historic structure which was built around 1800. It was recorded by the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage and appeared on the first edition of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland.

Current owner Pat Keane told the Leader he spent E1.25m buying the property and has now put it on the market.

Mr. Keane, who operates The Hangman’s Arch in Milltown, Newbridge, once hoped that the venue would also cater for small weddings, birthday celebrations and conference meetings, in addition to the normal bar and restaurant function.

Planning permission for the renovation, extension and change of use of the building was granted by Naas Town Council (NTC) in March 2009; about 7 months after the application was submitted.

At the time it was hoped that the restaurant/bar plan, which included a rear extension and a semi public landscaped space. Last week Mr. Keane was critical of Naas Town Council and Kildare County Council and said that securing planning permission was “a very difficult process”.

He also criticised the imposition of parking levies by NTC amounting to E350,000 – which were later reduced.

He said he was compelled to employ a conservation architect to report on what could be salvaged within the building, as part of the planning permission application process.

Mr. Keane also contended that he made four different submissions to support the case that parking levies might not be applicable

“All of this cost a lot of money and I paid E700,000 in interest over four and a half years. The restaurant proposal is not now viable, “ he said.

Mr. Keane claimed the project would have employed 30-40 people.

“It’s not as if I didn’t have experience of the trade or don’t have a track record; I ran Berney’s in Kilcullen and now the Hangman’s Arch.”

He added: “If I was setting up a manufacturing enterprise employing his number of people I would have had no problem.

“I feel the local authorities have no understanding of business. I’ve worked with multinational companies and I know how simple this should be. I’m very upset about this; it’s been a disaster. I feel as if obstacles were put in my way and it wasn’t always possible to talk to council officials.”

He also said that Naas Town Council has recently writing to him complaining about the condition of the building.

Following complaints by councillors about the number of derelict buildings in the town, NTC decided to write to a number of property owners.

Naas Town Clerk Ken Kavanagh said the planning application was dealt with in accordance with standard procedures.

He added that the relevant levies were applied in accordance with the scheme in operation at that time and he refuted any suggestion that these levies were “lifted”.

He also said the condition of the premises is the owner’s responsibility.

- Paul O’Meara