Portlaoise GP's medical centre plans approved

All households in Laois should write to the Health Minister to save the hospital

Dr Ashfaq Ahmad, who plans to build a medical centre on the Dublin Road.

A Portlaoise GP has been granted permission to retain building works at his proposed new clinic on the Dublin Road, despite objections from nearby residents who raised safety issues as well as concerns over proper planning regulations.

Dr Ashfaq Ahmad of the Kilminchy Medical Centre applied to Laois County Council to retain the demolition and reconstruction of a dwelling house structure at his site opposite the hospital on the Dublin Road, where he plans to build a pharmacy, doctor’s consultation surgery, and cafe. Permission was previously granted for the construction of this medical clinic.

However, a number of submissions were made to the council objecting to the retention of works. In one submission, William Marum, Burnwood, Clonad, Portlaoise, said that he found the plans to be “consistently inaccurate” and accused the applicant of displaying “total disrespect and lack of social responsibility”.

He said that the applicant had demolished a dwelling house on site without authorised permission to do so.

However, Mr Marum’s submission was disputed by Evelyn Duff, architect for the development, who said Mr Marum’s comments were “vexatious, malicious and frivolous”.

“In my opinion, the submissions made by Mr Marum are disrespectful to Dr Ahmad and to the professionals engaged by Dr Ahmad,” she said, adding that to suggest the information was misleading “could be considered libellous”.

Ms Duff said that Dr Ahmad had spent in excess of €30,000 to rectify unforeseen deficient structural elements that were found on site.

In support of this, a letter from Kilgallen & Partners, consulting engineers, stated that the demolition and reconstruction of existing masonry walls last October was necessary for structural and safety reasons, as the structure was in very poor condition.

Separate submissions were made by Elizabeth Clear, Glen Carrig, Dublin Road, who feared proposed signage would dominate the front of her property; and John and Moira Phelan, Castletown House, Donaghmore, owners of the property that adjoins part of the development, who objected to trees being planted on this site as they feared danger to anyone going onto the Dublin Road from their property and not having a proper view of traffic.

In response to these submissions, Ms Duff said that only small trees were planned, and a 4m high sign had been omitted from the application.

The council has now granted conditional permission to Dr Ahmad.

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