Portlaoise Garda Station is a listed building.
Designs are not yet ready to proceed with a major multi-million overhaul of Portlaoise Garda Station which could take three years to build and is linked to an army project which is still on the drawing board.
The Office of Public Works, which is overseeing the project, also confirmed that it must be carried out in tandem with a new Department of Defence building in Portlaoise consultation for which is still happeing.
Responding to queries from the Leinster Express, the OPW confirmed that is designing the new station which is due be the HQ for Garda services in Laois, Offaly, Kildare - a policing area of 400,000 people.
"The new station is being designed by the Office of Public Works. A design team has commenced work on the detailed design phase of this large scale and complex capital works project, which will involve the extension and refurbishment of the existing Garda Station and custody suite, along with the provision of additional accommodation for An Garda Síochána on the adjacent site currently occupied by the Department of Defence. Planning permission for this phase of the project was granted earlier in 2021," it said.
Part of the site is used by soldiers prior to their deployment to duty in Portlaoise Prison. A new building has to be built elsewhere in Portlaoise to ensure the army is facilitated.
A second option has had to been for the Defences Forces after an initial proposal to build off the Mountrath Road was deemed unsuitable. The OPW gave details of where this is at.
"The project also requires the provision of new accommodation for the Department of Defence on the site of the Irish Prison Service (IPS) Training Centre, Portlaoise, which is subject to a planning submission under Part 9 of the Planning and Development Acts 2001 (as amended). A period of public consultation in relation to this development is currently underway," said the OPW.
An update was also provided on possible timeframe.
"Prior to commencing construction works, the OPW, An Garda Síochána and Garda Estate Management will discuss and review the phasing and decanting options for the project. Following the detailed design and procurement process, it is expected that a project of this scale will take between 24 and 36 months to construct," it said.
The Garda Station project was included in the National Development Plan but this expires in 2021. A new plan is due to be published shortly.
The OPW did not say if funding had been cleared for the new buildings.
Laois TD and Minister of State Seán Fleming said recently that he was working on advancing the project.
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