Red light for petrol station

AN Bord Pleanala have overturned a decision by Laois County Council to grant permission for the construction of a third filling station on the Dublin Road in Portlaoise.

AN Bord Pleanala have overturned a decision by Laois County Council to grant permission for the construction of a third filling station on the Dublin Road in Portlaoise.

In its ruling the appeals board said the station could devalue local property and present a danger to the public due to increased traffic at the site near Portlaoise’s hospital.

A report compiled by the board’s inspector said that a proposal by Portlaoise Service Station Ltd to build on the site of a former filling station opposite the junction of the Block Road would be “contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development”.

A new roundabout, which was planned by the council, and included in the project was questioned because it was another a large junction.

“The junction in question is a busy junction and is likely to get significantly busier as a result of the proposed schools which are to be relocated to the surrounding area,” noted the inspector. He added that the lack of pedestrian crossing at the roundabout was also a concern. It was also pointed out that under the development plan access to filling stations should not be permitted closer than 35 metres to road junctions.

The inspector went on to raise concerns over the space available in the forecourt, which could lead to traffic queuing up on the carriageway of the roundabout.

The An Bord Pleanála report concluded by saying that the roundabout as proposed could give rise to significant road safety concerns and therefore could result in a traffic hazard. The development would also give rise to significant levels of noise and general disturbance which would seriously injure the amenities and depreciate the value of residential property in the vicinity.

The issue was brought to the board’s attention by local residents, who lodged several objections against the development.

Mr Brian Delaney said the proposed building would be an invasion of his privacy, while Mr George Percy claimed the new filling station would be “an eyesore”. Further objections were raised by Mr Paraic Whelan, and a submission was also made by the Petrogas Group Ltd, Kildare.

Following these objections, Portlaoise Service Station Ltd, which is linked to Downey’s filling station on the Dublin Road, met with residents and modified the original application to include a smaller station than originally planned. It is these amended plans that were granted permission by the council.