Setback for Kilminchy playground

Plans for a playground in one of Portlaoise’s newest estates have been dealt a setback.

Plans for a playground in one of Portlaoise’s newest estates have been dealt a setback.

A Kilminchy resident has appealed to An Bord Pleanala to review Laois County Council granting permission for a playground in the estate off the Dublin Road. Joe MacLean lodged his appeal on June 27 with the national body, who will now review all documents relating to the playground application, before making a final decision at the end of October.

It means another three months wait for Kilminchy Management Company, which originally applied to build a playground for the 680 house Portlaoise estate last November. The site is currently being used for waste building materials and household refuse, with open access for children to walk in.

Among his reasons for objecting, Mr MacLean says residents were not consulted as to the location of the playground, and there is no car park for it.

“The Lake Way playground has no provision made for the vast numbers of parents’ cars of the 1200 children in Kilminchy to park. This is not including cars arriving from other estates,” he said.

He says claims by the management company that nearby residents can monitor the playground at all times are untrue, and suggests a more suitable site.

“It should be located on the grass area of open space set aside in the original plans for Kilminchy ‘for future community use’. That is adjacent to the neighbourhood centre, with ample parking,” he said.

Following a request by Laois County Council, the Kilminchy Management Company provided additional information on the project last month. They agreed to replace the block wall around the triangular site with a 2 metre steel fence, and to provide ‘children at play’ signs, seating for parents and trees.

The local authority then granted permission, on condition that they sign prior approval to the type of fencing, landscaping, paving, seating, and bins. They also request public lighting, buried cables, no advertising signs, and a demolition plan for the removal of the wall.

Children playing on Lake Way last Friday said a playground was needed there.

“It would be great, there’s nothing to do here,” they said.

One of their parents, Kenny O’Reilly agreed.

“If it’s going to be a playground it would be brilliant. There’s nothing around here for the young people of Kilminchy. I don’t think anybody from outside the estate would drive all the way in to use it. It’s a secluded estate. The kids in here all walk to the shop and the lake. I would rather look out and see my 9 year old playing there outside,” he said.

Mr O’Reilly disagreed that a site beside the Kilminchy shopping area was more suitable.

“Why would you want 15, 16 year olds hanging around shops, an off-licence, a chipper and a pub, what would they see? I was a bouncer for years, would I want my kids hanging out there, I don’t think so,” he said.