Plea to US-owner of Georgian villa to back park plan
on 20/08/2013 00:00:00
"We have written to him and emailed him several times over the years - but he has ignored us," said partnership spokesman Ger Lehane.
"We just don't know what the condition of the inside of the house is - and that's a shame. It's a building of national historic importance and it has been left to rot.
"We would appeal now to Mr Moss to help us and at least allow entry to the house so that a survey can be done. That would be the least he could do."
The appeal comes ahead of the launch this week of the Vernon Mount Lecture Series which will highlight the importance of the historic building, and its potential as a key visitor attraction in the proposed Tramore Valley super-park.
Vernon Mount, perched high above the South Ring Rd, was built in the 1780s and is one of the few remaining Georgian mansions on the south side of Cork.
It is a listed building containing important murals by 18th century artist Nathaniel Grogan.
But it has fallen into dereliction since 1998 after a company of which Mr Moss was a director failed to secure planning permission for a residential and hotel development on the site.
Finally, after years of local campaigning, Cork County Council used its powers under the 2000 Planning and Development Act last year to step in and repairs its leaking roof.
Mr Lehane praised council officials for securing funding for the project which he said will limit further damage and protect the house from the weather.
"This was a very significant step by the county council, and we are most grateful for their action and support of the conservation of this house," he said.
But the authorities have been unable to gain access to the building to assess conditions inside.
Mr Moss's cooperation will be crucial to undertake further conservation work.
A maths and engineering graduate from Trinity College, San Diego-based Mr Moss is an active member of Tech Coast Angels, the largest angel investment network in the US, specialising in investing in hi-tech startups.
The partnership has now gathered several influential and expert speakers to discuss the house, the super park plans and the conservation of the area.
"We really want people to come along to these lectures and experience the rich history and heritage of the area in which we all live," Mr Lehane said.
On Thursday, landscape architect and conservationist, David Bosonnet, will deliver the inaugural lecture, as part of Heritage Week.
As a partner at Brady Shipman Martin Architects, he has worked on key projects such as the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre, the Cork South Docks Local Area Plan, the Shannon Free Zone Masterplan, and the Cork City Harbour plan.
The free lecture series, which is being supported by Cork City Libraries, will also include discussions by experts on the art of Cork's 'big houses', Cork's merchant princes, and what ordnance surveys reveal about the heritage and history of the area.
The Grange Frankfield Partnership is a voluntary community organisation established in 2010 to support the creation of a 'super park' on the south side of the city and to highlight the importance of the conservation and renewal of Vernon Mount House.