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03/08/2021

Decision made in appeal against new nursing home in Laois town centre

Decision made on appeal against Mountmellick nursing home

The plan for a nursing home in Mountmellick by Rocktop Developments.

A decision has been made by An Bord Pleanála on the plan for a new nursing home in a Laois town centre.

The green light has been given for a slightly smaller development than was first requested for the site in Mountmellick behind the town's main streets.

It comprises a 60 bedroom two-story nursing home with six stepdown apartments in three blocks - down from 62 bedrooms and eight apartments in four blocks.

The national planning authority has agreed with the decision by Laois County Council planners last October.

The brownfield 1 hectare site is behind Mountmellick's Patrick Street and Emmett Street, accessed through College Avenue with emergency and services access through Davin Park.

An ESB sub station will be built in a corner of the site which is part of the public space for College Avenue.

The plan is by Rocktop Asset Management.

Neighbouring homeowner Paul Dempsey had appealed Laois County Council's decision last October to grant permission, supported by Cllr Paddy Bracken.

Mr Dempsey objected to the Davin Park access saying there was already a lack of existing parking spaces in that estate. He said it would leave no room for emergency vehicles and the extra traffic would create road dangers. He said that the entrance could be used as a through route for anti-social behaviour.

The board however agreed to allow the Davin Park route, against its own inspector's recommendation.

An Bord Pleanála's Inspector's Report had recommended against Davin Park as the emergency services access road., noting "significant on street parking in Davin Park. Such parking, together with the narrow existing carriageway width, narrow footpath widths and the nature of the development as a small established residential development is in my opinion such that it is not ideal that access for emergency and service vehicles would be via this route as proposed in the application. 

An Bord Pleanála set down several conditions for their approval. The applicant must supply to the council details on pedestrian and road access, angled windows, finishes to the building and landscaping. It must also have set up a management company and supply a waste management plan before the finished buildings can be occupied.

It says site work can take place from 7am to 7pm on weekdays and 7am to 2pm on Saturdays. 

The developer must pay €14,000 in development fees to Laois County Council towards public infrastructure before work starts. 

"It is considered that, subject to compliance with conditions, the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area or of properties in the vicinity, would not be prejudicial to public health and would be acceptable in terms of traffic safety and convenience. The proposed development would therefore be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area," they stated.

Permission was first sought in July 2019, and the council had sought additional information on a range of issues that September, including access, traffic safety, and how the concerns of neighbours to the site were to be addressed. The information was supplied a year later in September 2020.

Previously the site had been granted permission for a large office and retail block with multistorey carpark by Laois County Council but this was appealed to An Bord Pleanála who overturned the decision to refuse permission.  

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