Plans to build a new church and community hall on the grounds of the old boys school in Stradbally have been put on hold following objections from local residents.
Residents of the area raised concerns over car parking at the site on the Vicarstown Road, where The Laois Bible Fellowship Church had applied for permission to build a new church and community hall and to convert the old school into a new preschool facility. Separate concerns were raised by a Ballacolla man who felt the new development would not adequately cater for the needs of the disabled.
James Furney, of Ballygeehan, Ballacolla, suggested that the steps currently in place at the old school will not allow people with disabilities, wheelchair users, or mums with buggies to access the building and would discriminate against them. He suggested removing the steps and putting in a gradual slope and hand rail, as well as repositioning the toilets and addressing the need for more fire escapes.
Meanwhile, Dan and Maura Delaney, residents of the Vicarstown Road in Stradbally, said that as the street is already heavily parked up on Sunday mornings any increased traffic would “render the Vicarstown Road almost impassable”. They also raised the issue of noise pollution as the proposed church is 5m from their boundary wall.
A further submission was made by residents Christopher and Josephine O’Dwyer, who also raised concerns over possible traffic congestion, and the issue of the boundary wall.
The Laois Bible Fellowship Church, a registered charity, is a non-denominational, evangelical, community-based church, which has been in existence for 12 years in Laois. The proposed preschool opening hours would be Monday - Friday, 9am to 1pm approximately, and there would be three employees.
It is not known the specific hours of usage for the proposed church and community hall, but gatherings would be held Tuesday 10am to 1pm, Wednesday 8pm to 10pm, Friday 6pm to 10pm, Sunday 10am to 2pm and 6pm to 8pm.
Laois County Council have requested the group to address the concerns raised and the application is now currently on hold.