The old national school in Ballylinan will once again resound with the hustle and bustle of community life, with permission granted by Laois County Council to convert the building into a new community and pastoral centre.
The Arles Ballylinan Killeen and Pastoral Centre Development Committee applied to Laois County Council just before Christmas for permission to change the use of the former St Patrick’s NS on Main Street, Ballylinan, to a community and pastoral centre, along with all associated internal works.
The building, with a total floor area of almost 700 m2, will house the local parish office, and it is expected that the centre will be used by people of all ages from the Ballylinan, Arles and Killeen areas.
It is envisaged that there will be maximum of eight staff needed for the centre, and a maximum of 120 users, with such uses as a meeting place for the elderly, youth activities, adult education, crafts, social gatherings, lectures and meetings. It is hoped by the applicants that portacabins located on the grounds may be used for specific youth activities, such as a safe social area for young people, however the current application pertains only to the main building and its environs.
In their application, a letter from architect, Mr Keith Graham explained that the school dates from 1934 and only ceased to operate as a school in September last year. Now the local parishes, represented by Fr Brian Kavanagh, of Killeshin Road, Carlow, wish to convert its use to a community and pastoral centre.
Mr Graham said the centre would have “huge social and local benefit” for the community.
During the planning process, Laois County Council requested further information from the applicants with regards to car parking provision. In response, the applicants have said that it is not foreseen that parking numbers would ever exceed “a normal large Mass attendance”.
Permission has now been given for the new centre by Laois County Council.