Portlaoise councillors and local schools oppose Borris Road houses

'Unthinkable' to use land for housing, says board of management

Ryan Dunne

Reporter:

Ryan Dunne

Email:

ryan@leinsterexpress.ie

Borris Road

The Borris Road in Portlaoise, where 43 new houses are planned.

Portlaoise councillors and the board of management of both secondary schools on the Borris Road have come out in force against a planning application for 43 new houses to be built on lands beside the school campus.

“It is unthinkable that this area of ground, which would be available for future extensions of the adjoining facilities, should now be considered for housing,” said Maura Murphy, secretary, board of management at St Mary’s CBS, in a submission to Laois County Council.

She said the proposal by Graham Developments to construct a housing development of 43 two-storey detached dwellings would be in direct contradiction of the council’s policy to facilitate the educational facilities to meet the needs of the county.

“In the interests of the many children in the catchment area and those incoming young people, I ask you to refuse this planning application,” said Ms Murphy.

A similar submission was made by the secretary of the board of management at Scoil Chriost Ri, Helen O’Donnell, and a submission made by all seven members of the Portlaoise Municipal District.

In the councillors’ submission, it was pointed out that given the proximity of the lands to the secondary school campus, which is zoned for community, education and institutional use,  dwellings are not open for consideration under the Local Area Plan 2012 - 2018

“We the local councillors believe that this land will be needed for further education requirements. The school is at maximum capacity and as in the recent census the population is increasing rapidly,” said the councillors.

They state that the existing school is landlocked by virtue of the fact that the railway line runs to the rear of the school campus and The Hermitage housing estate runs to the north-east boundary. The proposed site is the only piece of land that can be used for any future extensions or requirements for the school.

“We the councillors of the Portlaoise Municipal District believe that planning permission should not be granted,” they said.

The submission was signed by Cllrs Catherine Fitzgerald, Mary Sweeney, Jerry Lodge, Caroline Dwane Stanley, Noel Tuohy, Willie Aird, and John Joe Fennelly.

A decision on the planning application is due from Laois County Council by September 7.