Residents are divided over Durrow plans

Residents are divided over Durrow plans

Objections have been raised by a number of residents of Patrick Street in Durrow, against plans for a new two-storey community centre to be built on the site of the former Civil Defence building.

A submission has been made on behalf of four residents against the proposal by the Durrow Development Forum to demolish the former Civil Defence building, two associated storage buildings to its side and rear, and a single storey toilet extension to the side of the former Methodist Chapel/ICA Hall, and construct a part single storey/part two storey community use facility comprising of meeting rooms and related back up spaces.

The four residents objecting, represented by Liam Ryan Architectural Services, are Margaret Aylward, Pat Dunphy, Phillip Scott, and Keir Lilley, all residents of Patrick Street.

They claim that local residents were not consulted on the plans and as there is already a community hall in Durrow, they say they are at a complete loss as to why a second community hall is needed.

They raise concerns over car parking, as the existing car park in this property has been a car park for residents for over 50 years. There have already been a number of accidents on the street, especially with traffic approaching at speed from the Cork Road, and the residents require a guarantee that they can continue to use the car park.

They say that Laois County Council agreed in March 1996 to give the car park as off street car parking for the residents. If the new building proceeds and it houses Fás, Meals on Wheels and other enterprises, they say the current car park can’t accommodate such numbers.

“We the residents cannot tolerate the prospect of lugging shopping and small kids in the dark on a very busy road,” say the four people named on the submission.

However, a further submission has been made to the council in support of the new community centre by Seamus Clancy, Patrick Street, signed by 18 people.

They say they have no objection to the proposed development and are delighted with the plans. This submission was signed by Seamus Clancy, Shannon Hickman, Helen Campion, Seamus Boorman, John Brophy, Marie Brophy, Kate Clancy, Tim Murray, Vincent O’Brien, Paul O’Brien, Jacqueline Sherlock, Imelda Foyle, George O’Brien, David O’Brien, Dave Furey, Noeleen Dunphy, Michael Larkin, and Mary Stones.

Also in support are Fergal and Deirdre Hassett, Patrick Street, who have had “a direct personal relationship with the area for over 60 years” and whose property directly adjoins the lands to which the planning application relates.

“So if anybody were to feel entitled to air a negative view on the development, it should be us. Yet the converse is in fact the case, we are very much for and not against this project,” they say.

“In an era when e-shopping and the internet are eroding the commercial centres of our towns, we see this as a real plus that will help to reinvigorate not just the main street but also the town.”