Laois County Council intends to build social houses on Portlaoise Convent site

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois County Council intends to build social houses on Portlaoise Convent site

Portlaoise presentation convent; government cash has been sought for social housing on the site

Laois County Council is seeking money from the Department of Housing to develop 47 social housing units on the Portlaoise Convent site.

The Capital Assistance Scheme application is from the Sophia Housing Association. It is not confirmed if the units would be in the convent or built on the site.

“A stage 1 funding application has been made to the Department for 47 units under the Capital Assistance Scheme. This application is from Sophia Housing Association. It is premature at this stage to confirm the allocation strategy or the timescale,” the council's housing officer Michael Rainey said.

The Presentation Sisters convent is on 8 acres of town centre land on sale since 2016 for €2.5m jointly by the parish and the Presentation Sisters.

A previous plan by the sisters to use it for social housing failed after objections. It was boarded up after a fire in 2015.

The site was also being suggested by Portlaoise councillors this year to build a school for the newly established Dunamaise College secondary school.

The council's housing department announced that it was seeking the funding, at the April meeting of Laois County Council.

The council CEO John Mulholland said the project was in keeping with government policy, and a shift to bring 30 percent of homes into town centres.

"It is ideal for mobility, and also the removal of dereliction," he said.

Cllrs Caroline Dwane Stanley and Catherine Fitzgerald wanted details of location and type of housing, and Mr Rainey invited them to view the plans privately.

"The preliminary design documents are on my desk. I'm not familiar with what building is what. There will be a future Part VIII to be made," he said.

The public will be able to view details of the plan prior to councillors approving Part VIII planning for the houses.