COMMENT: Portlaoise poised for next phase

COMMENT: Portlaoise poised for next phase

The requisite conditions for a housing boom in Portlaoise have been effectively created with the rezoning of an additional 18 hectares of land for new developmenet in the Draft Portlaoise Local Area Plan.

As the Chief Executive of Laois County Council pointed out, this would allow for up to 600 houses to be built and adding to a possible maximum of 2,100 housing units over the next six years.

As it stands, following last week's decision there are 41 hectares now zoned for development.

The implications are many for a town that has experienced rapid population growth, something which looks set to continue well into the future.

The Portlaoise of 2018 is a vastly different place to what it was 20 years ago. Indeed the differences are striking.

In many cases there is no comparison between both.

The town is a striking example of the demographic changes which have taken place over the last 10 to 15 years on a national level.

It has been a lightening rod for this as people have captialised on its many advantages, not least of which is location.

The result has been an explosion in population, and a town which is now truly multicultural.

The tectonic shifts which have taken place look set to continue well into the future.

Portlaoise now seems poised to move into the next chapter of its history with a projected population of over 25,000 by 2023.

With work on the extension of the Portlaoise southern circular road about to commence, it would seem that many of the pieces are falling into place.

Of course it's not only confined to Portlaoise, as Portarlington and Mountmellick and smaller towns and villages have also experienced and shared in these changes.

These developments are all welcome, and particularly in view of the housing crisis shortage.

Managing all this will of course not be easy and there are many challenges in dealing with a rising population and providing services and facilities.

And there are possible pitfalls, as we are all too aware from what happened when it all went belly up before.

However, it is an exciting time for the town and its people and how it developes further will be fascinating to watch.