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Council seeks more time for extension

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Kerry County Council Head Office at Rathass in Tralee. Stock Image

Kerry County Council Head Office at Rathass in Tralee. Stock Image

Kerry County Council Head Office at Rathass in Tralee. Stock Image

Kerry County Council is seeking another 10 years to complete a massive expansion and refurbishment project at its headquarters in Tralee.

In recent weeks the local authority has applied to its own planning department for an extension of permission for the extension and refurbishment of County Buildings at Rathass in Tralee.

The plans involve the demolition of part of the existing building; the construction of a new four-storey extension to the main office complex and the construction of an entirely new laboratory, file-storage and workshop building.

The addition of 251 extra car-parking spaces and a revamp of the existing car parks and the 'campus' grounds is also proposed.

Initially the Council sought permission for the development from Tralee Town Council in mid 2009, but the plans were put on hold - and potential funding dried up - after the onset of the banking crisis and the recession.

Kerry County Council had bought the site from the Southern Health Board in 1986, and several departments - including the Motor Tax Office and the council's Machinery Department - were gradually moved to the new campus.

In 2009 the Council began planning for the "next phase of the development" of its headquarters in order "to meet the challenge of an expanding organisation and an environment of change".

Planning permission was eventually granted in 2019, but the economic situation meant the project never went ahead.

Now - with Tralee Town Council subsequently abolished - the local authority is seeking permission to extend the proposal from its own planning office.

In its new application, council management said it had a continuous need for office accommodation and "a review of requirements is currently underway as part of assessing (the) office due to Covid 19".

Kerry County Council Facilities Manager John Purcell said that the economic crash in 2010 had "resulted in Kerry County Council now being in a position to access the substantial funding required" in the last decade, and the authority is seeking another ten years.

Kerryman