Masterplan for regeneration of Bailieborough

Big changes are ahead for Bailieborough as a Town Regeneration Officer has been appointed but she insists the regeneration project will be directed by local stakeholders.

Excited about her new role, Caroline Brady explained: “As Town Regeneration Officer in Cavan County Council, my role is to work in partnership with the local community and businesses, public and private stakeholders who will form a Town Team.

“The Town Team will be responsible for developing their own planned path forward and their ambition will be set out in their Town Centre First Masterplan.”

The new position became available following the announcement of the Vacant Homes Action Plan last month. The plan of €150 million will be used to fund local authorities to tackle vacancy and dereliction.

Bailieborough was chosen as the first town in Conty Cavan under this initiative and early-stage work has commenced to see how best town centre regeneration can be encouraged through a range of economic, social and cultural projects and initiatives.

“The purpose of the Town Centre First Master Plan is to take a holistic approach to town centre development,” outlines Caroline. “This will include looking at all aspects of the town centre including public realm, retail offering, movement throughout the town, traffic, parking, walking, reuse of vacant properties, community services and facilities – as part of this we will be exploring all potential projects and funding streams.”

At a junction

Caroline feels that one of the main issues to be addressed by her role will be to redevelop the junction at the top of main street.

“Given the significance of this particular junction within the town, I would envisage that it will be one of the key projects identified to progress within the masterplan.”

Caroline's first port of call was to meet with the people of Bailieborough to gain an insight into what issues they would like to be addressed.

“I have just very recently taken up the role and am in the process of meeting with the local community and businesses within the town with further meetings planned over the coming weeks.

“There will be a number of consultation events held so we can hear the communities views and aspirations for the town centre. It is also intended to circulate an online survey to enable as wide a range of consultation as possible. The views of local people will help to shape the vision and masterplan for the town and inform ideas and help generate a range of pipeline projects for the town.

“Feedback from initial meetings so far has been really positive with many recognising the need for a plan for the town and keen to be involved in shaping the new masterplan. They have also welcomed the fact that Cavan County Council have appointed a Town Regeneration Officer who will work closely with them and who will be crucial to driving future development.”

Fianna Fáil TD, Niamh Smyth, had pushed for such a position amid concerns about the future use of the Bailie Hotel, which is on the market, the loss of which, she feels, would impact the core town area negatively.

“I would have been quite vocal with the county manager Tommy Ryan and written to him about the importance of putting together a task force,” says Deputy Smyth. “I think the integrity of the Main Street has been chipped away at for the last number of years and I think that’s something that we have to be mindful of.

“Speaking with our Roads Department and our Community and Enterprise Department in Cavan County Council, I was more than thrilled when they turned around there in January and said they had employed somebody with the sole focus and purpose of looking at our Main Street,” the Bailieborough based TD told the Celt.

Caroline Brady will continue meeting with the people of Bailieborough in the coming weeks to further the drafting of a master plan.