The building to the left has been purchased by Cavan County Council with plans now to repurpose it as office space.

Cavan County Council eyes up new Headquarters

Cavan County Council is exploring the use of a recently purchased property on one of Cavan's most iconic streets to expand its office footprint within the county town.

Since the Budget was struck in November 2019, it remains a long-term objective of the local authority to develop what they describe as a “unified corporate headquarters” at the centre of Cavan Town.

The vacant property concerned is located on Farnham Street adjacent to the existing Environment/Water Services building.

That premises, otherwise known as the Old Reference Library, was the subject of a major refurb that was completed in July 2022 by local firm Crosserlough Construction.

Costing close to €135,000, the works carried out included upgrades and repairs throughout the three-storey building.

Suspended ceilings were installed in some rooms and more cost effective LED lighting fitted.

The building, in which the council intends to add additional office space, was once enclosed in what was known as the Farnham Gardens, a linear park built over in the 1960s.

As it stands, the council operates across three separate sites, all within close proximity on Farnham Street.

Along with the current Environment/Water Services building, which previously served as the main council headquarters, the council occupies the upper floors of the Johnston Central Library building and offices in the Courthouse, space shared with the Courts Service.

The council had hired an architect to assess all options available to them, including revamping owned accommodation and the potential for renting additional office space, not to mention the prospect of developing a new state-of-the-art offices on a greenfield site.

Pre-Covid, over €7 million was destined to be set aside for the cause, contained within an ambitious set of plans to spend in the region of €115 million to develop towns and services countywide.

While a number of staff adapted to remote working in the interim, and the council's investment in IT has facilitated hybrid working, this is not considered a suitable long-term solution.

Already, some sections and bodies that come under the remit of Cavan County Council have found new homes in towns nearby. For example the Cavan Sports Partnership team moved to offices in Belturbet.

Separately, the council worked on a 'Land Use and Transportation' study for Cavan Town, which has been designated as a “key regional town” in the Regional and Spatial and Economic Strategy, and a “key driver” of economic and social development for the region.

That assessment fed into the contents of the now published County Development Plan 2022-28.

The €199,020 awarded last month under THRIVE, the Town Centre First Heritage Revival Scheme, is a critical boost for pushing forward the council's planned expansion.

A spokesperson for Cavan County Council confirmed that the funding awarded under the ERDF Northern and Western Regional Programme 2021-2027, is for the “development of a community led plan to repurpose a number of council-owned properties, which are currently underutilised, including a vacant property on Farnham Street adjacent to the current Environment/Water Services building”.

It is “envisaged” that repurposing this building in council ownership “will provide additional space while retaining the unique heritage and character of the building, located on one of Cavan Town's most historic streets".

The spokesperson added that it “remains a long-term objective” of Cavan County Council to develop a “unified corporate headquarters in Cavan Town Centre, and provision has been made in the council's capital expenditure programme towards this objective”.

They concluded by stating that this “significant capital project” will still require an extensive design and consultation process “along with significant funding”.

“Cavan County Council is committed to delivering this facility in the coming years, alongside other major capital developments in the county town such as the Abbeylands regeneration, which will see on-site work commence later this year.”