Digital & Innovation Hub to have 'statement' building in Longford town

Providers building to be demolished to make way for 'iconic' digital hub

Jessica Thompson

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Jessica Thompson

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jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

Longford innovation and digital hub takes giant step towards becoming a reality

Longford County Council have announced plans to knock down Providers so that a new 'iconic' building can be constructed for Longford's Digital Hub

The decision by Longford County Council to demolish the old Providers building to make way for the construction of a new 'iconic' building that will house a digital hub in the centre of town has been warmly welcomed by local councillors.

Director of Services Barbara Heslin announced the big decision at the January meeting of Longford County Council last Wednesday evening.

“We have decided that the most appropriate option is to demolish the existing building and to build a new custom-designed building which will meet our requirements,” she explained.

“And the design of the building will incorporate the elements that we’ve already outlined at a previous meeting to you all, which will include a possible cafe, exhibition space, cultural space, digital hub hot-desking and meeting space.

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“Work is to commence almost immediately on progressing the project and the relevant procurement processes that will be associated with that, so watch this space.”

Local councillors were quick to voice their approval of the plans, noting that a statement building will work wonders for the regeneration of that part of the town.

“This was looked at and to bring that existing building up to a significantly modern standard of insulation, of safety, of access and all of those items would have cost in excess of what it would cost to build a purpose-built iconic building,” said Cllr Seamus Butler.

“It is a wonderful opportunity to make a statement. I think this building has to make a statement. It has to be iconic. It has to be something we can be proud of.”

Also read: Old Providers building to be knocked to make way for construction of 'iconic' Digital Hub in Longford town

Cllr Joe Flaherty also welcomed the decision, but is anxious that the planners look to include a number of historic features from the old building in any new build and, if this is not possible, that the features are stored for possible future projects.

“The Connolly and McGinnity families haves links in Northern Ireland and all the steel used in the building was recycled from Harland & Wolff whilst the building also features an old lift shaft and giant safe that were bought from an historic hotel in Belfast,” said Cllr Flaherty, adding that the council should endeavour to see if some of these features could be salvaged.

“You only have to look down to the end of Lower Main Street and the site of the old demolished castle to realise the sense of loss when we lose these features. I wholeheartedly agree with the plan to demolish but am hopeful that some of the features can be salvaged."

Planning and procurement began immediately but will take some time, according to Barbara Heslin.

“But it’s more important to get it right than to do it quickly,” she said.

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