An example of a Nua Healthcare unit. (Picture for illustration)
By Ryan Dunne firstname.lastname@example.org @laoisnews
An Bord Pleanala has overturned a decision by Laois County Council and granted permission to Nua Healthcare to build a new residential care unit in Portarlington.
The council had refused Nua permission to change an existing dwelling to a residential care unit, and construct a 235 sqm single storey extension to the building, at Rathbeag, Lea Road, Portarlington.
The council said that the proposed site, located in an unserviced rural area characterised by one-off houses and farmsteads, conflicted with the core strategy objectives and settlement strategy of the Laois County Development Plan, 2011-2017.
The council felt that the applicant did not include a detailed justification on why this particular service has to be located in this particular rural unserviced location and what other locations were considered before the applicants chose this site.
However, An Bord Pleanala has now granted permission, with certain conditions. In their application, Nua Healthcare said the existing bungalow is used “to provide a community based dwelling for people with Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism, intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries”.
The proposal is to accommodate seven service users and 9+ staff, as well as facilitate visitors. The current occupancy of the premises is four service users with two residential staff and additional shiftwork staff .
The applicant proposes to cater for an extra three residents, bringing the total to seven, with nine bedrooms. There will also be an additional six staff members working through peak hours.
Among the conditions imposed by An Bord Pleanala are that the new care unit shall only be occupied by persons with disabilities and their carers. Car parking arrangements are to include a provision for cycle parking and the site is to be landscaped in accordance with a comprehensive scheme of landscaping.
Building works are to be carried out 8am to 7pm Mondays to Fridays, 8am to 2pm Saturdays and not at all on Sundays or public holidays. Deviation from these hours is only allowed in exceptional circumstances.
The developer is also to pay to the council a financial contribution.