The former Royal Shannon Hotel building in Banagher.

'All options on table' for Banagher hotel future uses

Offaly County Council has said a variety of possible future uses will be considered for the former Royal Shannon Hotel building in Banagher.

The council purchased the local landmark, which is a protected structure adjacent to the Shannon and Banagher Marina, last September at a cost of €181,530.

Olwen Cummins of the local authority's Regeneration Team explained that the architectural and tourism masterplan for Banagher Marina and its environs was progressing, and that an architectural design team is currently being appointed to also prepare a conservation masterplan for the hotel site.

Ms Cummins said the conservation masterplan, which will take approximately six months to complete, will help identify "the best end uses" for the hotel building.

"There are loads of possibilities," she said. "We are leaving it wide open to community, enterprise, tourism, social enterprise, community uses, or civic uses. A digital hub would be a brilliant asset to Banagher, and it would be something we'd consider

"The building is fire damaged at the back, and we have to preserve the front," she added.

"All options are open, but the most important thing is that the hotel is going to be rejuvenated, refurbished, and brought back into use, whatever those end uses might be."

Ms Cummins said the architectural and tourism masterplan for Banagher Marina and environs was now "well into the design phase" and the council would then be seeking planning permission, through the Part 8 planning process, to implement the proposed upgrade of the area.

It's anticipated that it will be the Spring of 2024 before part 8 planning approval will have been secured for the proposed work on the hotel building.

Once the planning approval has been obtained for the marina and the hotel works, the projects will be considered "shovel-ready," but further funding applications will then have to be made to central Government to fund the appointment of contractors for the physical works on site.

Ms Cummins said the council's regeneration team was working hard to advance a number of projects in the county, with a draft of a 'Town Centre First' plan for Clara expected to be published at the end of this month.

"That plan will be completed by June, and we'll be using it to look for rural regeneration funding for Clara.

"I'm also working on the Ferbane convent project, and in Edenderry the old Tesco site is another site that we've demolished, and we're going to be building a brand new library there under the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund as well," she told the Offaly Independent.