An Bord Pleanala has upheld a council decision to grant permission for a new filling station at the Midway Food Court, rejecting an appeal by a rival businessman who has plans for a new shop and food court in the area.
Laois County Council gave the goahead to Petrogas Group Ltd, trading as Applegreen, to construct a new filling station consisting of a retail unit adjoining the existing food court.
Included is a new glazed lobby to facilitate access to and from the food court and internal connections.
However, an appeal was lodged with An Bord Pleanala by both Atlantic Enterprises, owned by Supermacs supremo Pat McDonagh, and Paul Dunne, of Dunnes Services Station, Abbeyleix Road, Portlaoise.
Mr Dunne previously made a submission against the Petrogas Group Ltd plans to the council during the planning process.
In his submission, Mr Dunne said he had major validity concerns about his business considering the town is already oversupplied with filling stations.
He cited the local area plan, which states that “an undue concentration of filling stations shall not be permitted, as in the past oversupply has led to closures”.
Meanwhile, Mr McDonagh has himself made a planning application to the council to build at the Midway, having applied for permission to build a two-storey building with a retail unit, a food court and drive-thru, communal seating area, office, toilet and kitchen facilities, adjacent to Junction 17 of the M7 at Togher, Portlaoise.
A decision on this application is due from Laois County Council by October 28.
An Bord Pleanala has now ruled that the proposed development by Petrogas would not seriously injure the visual amenities of the area or have an adverse impact on the traffic safety of the area.
It would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.
This permission comes some ten years since the board refused permission to another company, Corrigeen Construction Co. Ltd, to build a motorway services building, petrol filling station, associated car, coach and heavy goods vehicle parking areas and associated roads and infrastructure.
Corrigeen were granted permission by the council for these plans, but this was appealed by a number of residents and rejected by An Bord Pleanala.
Conditions of the planning permission for Petrogas are that the development is to be carried out in accordance with the plans lodged and the floor area for the off-licence is to be reduced so as not to exceed 10% of the floor area of the retail shop.
A construction management plan is needed and two car parking spaces adjacent to the retail unit are to be omitted.
The developer is to pay a financial contribution to the council in respect of the public infrastructure and facilities benefiting development in the area.