Respond! development in Portlaoise refused by An Bord Pleanala

Council's decision overturned following residents' objections

By Ryan Dunne

Reporter:

By Ryan Dunne

Email:

ryan@leinsterexpress.ie

Portlaoise residents object to social houses

An example of Respond! houses in Kildare.

An Bord Pleanala has overturned a decision by Laois County Council to grant permission to Respond! to build a new social housing development at the Abbeyleix Road in Portlaoise, following an appeal to the board by local residents.

The council granted permission at the end of 2016, for Respond! to construct a residential development of 39 dwelling units, consisting of 24 houses and 15 apartments, and one community facility at a site of 1.385 hectares with a new access road from the Abbeyleix Road.

Respond! is Ireland’s leading housing association and provides housing for people on local authority waiting lists.

During the planning stage, the council received a number of submissions from residents of the Abbeyleix Road, objecting to the proposed development.

Among the submissions was one from Alan and Anna Reddin, who said their house would be overlooked by ten housing units in the new development.

“We have grave concerns about this… we value our privacy and that of our young family,” the couple said.

With proposed houses only 11m from their boundary, they said that noise and nuisance levels would be intolerable.

“The noise from all the neighbouring houses/apartments and gardens would in effect prevent us as a family from enjoying our garden and outside space,” they said.

They also claimed that the number of housing units designed to surround their house is nine times the number of units surrounding any other existing house

“Our site would be considerable overlooked, our privacy severely compromised and our outside space to the rear rendered virtually useless,” they said.

Despite objections from the Reddins and a number of other residents, the council granted permission, but the Reddins then appealed this decision to An Bord Pleanala.

An Bord Pleanala has now refused the development, stating that the subject site is not zoned for residential development under the current Portlaoise Local Area Plan 2012-2018.

The board also said that the development would contravene the Local Area Plan policy HCSI, which is to discourage “ad hoc ribbon development” on the outskirts of the town.

It concluded that the development would have an adverse impact on the residential amenities of properties on the Abbeyleix Road, and would seriously injure the amenities or depreciate the value of property in the vicinity.