Vicar Street South may be revived – Gorey Guardian, August 29 2015

The ambitious Vicar Street South project may be back on the agenda following Wexford County Council’s advertisement of a Compulsory Purchase Order for land at the rear of Gorey’s Market House.

If granted, the CPO, which is advertised in this week’s Gorey Guardian, will pave the way for the redevelopment of the site. Once the land is acquired, a public consultation process will be held to establish what will be done with the land.

Cllr. Malcolm Byrne welcomed the move, saying that he is happy to see that progress is being made with the site since its regeneration was first discussed in 2012.

‘We have been working towards getting something done here for quite a while,’ he said. ‘Gorey Market House is a very important building. It is a key part of our history and will be a key part of our future.’

Five proposals for the site’s redevelopment were put forward in 2012 at a special meeting of Gorey Town Council. A proposal for a ‘Vicar Street South’ theatre was made by businessman Harry Crosbie, receiving widespread support from people in the locality. It is understood that this idea may now be revived.

‘There is no decision as of yet,’ said Cllr. Byrne. ‘It is possible that it might be brought up again.’

Mr. Crosbie, who is known for his involvement with the O2, Vicar Street and Bord Gáis Theatre, previously proposed the development of a 1000 seater venue, which would be the sister venue to the renowned Vicar Street in Dublin. He also suggested building a multi-purpose ‘black box’ building to the rear of the Market House, joined to the Main Street historic building by an atrium at the rear.

The proposed venue would attract headline acts to Gorey, supporting somewhere between 75 and 100 concerts a year. Promoters would book the concerts as additions to shows which run at Vicar Street in Dublin, and the promoter would be charged a set rent, regardless of ticket sales. Mr. Crosbie also proposed developing a ‘green room’ in the upper chamber of the Market House, with facilities for refreshments before shows.

Mr. Crosbie’s proposal received widespread support from the public when it was originally proposed. According to an online poll run by Gorey Chamber in 2012 regarding the redevelopment of the site, 97 per cent of respondents backed the plan for a ‘Vicar Street South’ theatre. Cllr. Byrne believes that Gorey would be a suitable location for such a facility.

‘North Wexford has long been known for its rich art and music background,’ he said. ‘Something like this would add to Gorey’s reputation.’

Cllr. Byrne said that any arts and music venue would also significantly improve employment prospects in the town, not only within the venue itself, but in the surrounding area.

‘If people were visiting Gorey to attend an event, they might eat out in the town beforehand or stay overnight in a hotel,’ he explained. ‘I’d love to see it happen.’

Should there be no objections to the CPO within six weeks of the publication date, it will be approved by An Bord Pleanála. Following this, members of the public will be invited to come forward with their ideas for the site.

‘We need to think big,’ said Cllr. Byrne. ‘However, there are lots of steps to be taken before anything can be done. This isn’t going to happen overnight. All big dreams take time to achieve.’

Mr. Crosbie’s submission was one of several ideas submitted in the past. Other ideas included a facility to support the performing Arts, a Heritage Centre, an Art Gallery, and an Exhibition Centre.

(First published in the Gorey Guardian: print edition. Also available online at: http://www.independent.ie/regionals/goreyguardian/news/vicar-street-south-may-be-revived-31474727.html)

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