Three-way stand-off on plans for new Dublin Road surgery

A stand-off between three separate business owners is heating up over plans to build a doctor’s surgery on the Dublin Road in Portlaoise.

A stand-off between three separate business owners is heating up over plans to build a doctor’s surgery on the Dublin Road in Portlaoise.

Dr Ashfaq Ahmad of the Kilminchy Medical Centre is the most recent applicant to have applied for permission to build a doctor’s surgery and pharmacy at a site just opposite the Midlands Hospital.

Included in the development would be a new restaurant/café on the first floor of the building, and a first floor extension to the front. There would also be new boundaries to the dwelling house, and new car parking to the front and rear.

A submission has been made to Laois County Council objecting to the proposal, from Jason Redmond, chartered engineer, saying: “We have concerns regarding the proposed development and would request that we are informed of any decision forthcoming.”

Mr Redmond previously acted on behalf of another applicant, Portlaoise Service Station Ltd, owners of Downeys Filling Station, who were granted permission by the council last year to build a two-storey medical centre at a disused site on the Dublin Road next to Applegreen Service Station.

However, this was the second such application granted permission in the past few years. Mr Michael Hanley, owner of the Applegreen Service Station, was granted permission back in 2009 to change the use of the Freedom Health & Fitness Gym located next to Applegreen to a pharmacy and doctor’s surgery. Some four years on and despite permission Mr Hanley had not commenced work on the surgery, when Portlaoise Service Station Ltd made their own application to Laois County Council. Laois County Council granted permission to Portlaoise Service Station Ltd’s application, a decision Mr Hanley appealed to An Bord Pleanala. However, An Bord Pleanala ruled in favour of Portlaoise Service Station Ltd last July.

In the wake of Dr Ahmad’s recent application, Mr Hanley has now made a new application to the council requesting further time on his original granted permission. A decision is due from the council on this by March 29.

Dr Ahmad’s application is now currently on hold as Laois County Council has requested further information on the development. Among the information sought is details on a construction and demolition management plan to increase safety; details of daylight and shadow projection affecting nearby dwellings; and parking details. The council has made it clear that “absolutely no parking will be permitted on the R445 Dublin Road in the vicinity of the site”.