ANGER AT PLANS TO DEMOLISH ONE OF DONEGAL’S MOST ICONIC BUILDINGS

Posted On Dec 22 2019 by

first_imgThe old Ritz Cinema in Ballybofey is under threat.Plans to flatten one of Donegal’s most iconic buildings has met with much anger from the local community.The local Butt Hall Committee (BHC), which owns the art deco Ritz Cinema in Ballybofey, has just lodged an application with Donegal County Council which was published this week.The BHC says it intends to apply for planning permission to flatten the building and shed at the rear as well as the removal of all material to clear the site.For decades the old Ritz Cinema has been a landmark building in the Twin Towns and is understood to have been build around 1945 which would make it 70 years old this year. The proposal has sparked outrage locally and fears that not only would an important piece of local history be removed forever but that any work done to it could be an eyesore and have health and safety ramifications.Fears have also been expressed that because the roof of the building is understood to contain asbestos, it could cost upwards of €40,000 to remove this before it was demolished could take place and local residents and businesses say this would be unacceptable.The building itself has been the focus on much debate on the ‘People, Places and Memories of the Twin Towns’ Facebook page. This community platform, which has a membership of almost one thousand people, has campaigned for something to be done about the structure for a long time.Indeed over the years this building has been the subject of much debate. It was once proposed by the now defunct Twin Towns Community Platform that it be used as a facility to accommodate local community groups but this idea was rejected by the BHC.It also some used by the Ballybofey-Stranorlar Chamber of Commerce as a tourist office for a number of years. Located opposite McElhinney’s Department Store and the town’s main car park, this landmark property was the home of the old Balor Theatre between 1982 the new €6.2 million Balor Arts Centre opened in 2008.The building was put on the market previous and offered a major re-development opportunity in the heart of town. It was described as ‘totally freestanding with pedestrian and vehicle access all around it’.The then promoters added: ‘This is an opportunity to own a piece of town history and offers purchasers the option to renovate the existing building or re-develop the site’.The building itself has approximately 45 ft of street frontage and occupies a site measuring approximately 0.25 acres. Back at that stage it was described as having ‘full planning permission’ to build a mixed use three storey building on the site.The controversial planning application can be inspected or purchased at council headquarters in Lifford. A submission or observation in relation to the application can be made in writing to the council on payment of a €20 fee within five weeks beginning on the date of receipt by the council of the application.These submissions or observations will be considered by the planners in making any decision on the application. However, the council may grant permission subject to or without conditions. They also have the power to refuse to grant the permission.It is understood that local politicians will be asked to raise the issue at county council level at the first opportunity with a view to examioning the possibility of the local authority playing a role in preserving this structure.ANGER AT PLANS TO DEMOLISH ONE OF DONEGAL’S MOST ICONIC BUILDINGS was last modified: October 16th, 2015 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BalybofeydemolishdonegalRitz Cinemalast_img read more