Land on the Stradbally road in Portlaoise set for major development by Laois County Council
The new masterplan has been unveiled for a major piece of Portlaoise town centre land, but it does not include a new sports hall for the town, despite a public campaign.
The 26 acre Tyrrell's Land site on the Stradbally Road backs onto three schools who will be able to walk, cycle, play, study nature and practice sports in it. they are Portlaoise Educate Together NS, Maryborough NS and Gaelscoil Phort Laoise.
However their plan does not address calls by the Panthers Basketball club in Portlaoise to build a sports hall for the town.
Landowners Laois County Council plan to install outdoor sports facilities for the town, including a full size all weather soccer pitch for multiple sports, a full basketball court with three 3V3 smaller basketball courts, a parkour area and a plaza for multiple uses.
"This selection of play areas we feel responds to the project discussions to date," the designers state.
It is also proposed to have a viewing pavilion similar to this image shared in the document (below).
"It is envisaged that the building can accommodate a café which is intended to also have an outdoor seating area and enjoying the setting of the new public park. To provide public toilet facilities and services (baby changing etc), and changing room suites
for use by those using the adjacent sports facilities. This pavilion should be a building of high design standards and construction as it occupies a prominent position within the park area."
They say that Portlaoise teenagers will be give a space to feel comfortable, with potential too to expand the playground in the People's Park.
"From the consultation process, there was a strong desire to accommodate within the park a space of play for teenagers. This has been accommodated in our Parkour & adventure play area. This is a location where the environment can be one of large play equipment and space to ‘hang out’ and achieve a sense of space where teenagers feel comfortable in a space where they can relate to and have a sense of ownership of.
"There is the opportunity adjacent eastwards to the existing playground to extend the playground into a play space for smaller children into a more natural play area."
Last January the Panthers club which has some 400 members and has won national titles began an online community petition for a new public sports facility for Portlaoise. Their call was backed by the public and by Portlaoise councillors, with Tyrrell's land suggested as a site.
"Portlaoise being the largest town, a facility is badly needed. Panthers are lobbying us all for some time, looking for somewhere to build a proper facility. They have outgrown St Mary's Hall, and use other courts in Mountmellick and even Kilcullen in Kildare, paying €45,000 annually for rents," Cllr Caroline Dwane said at that time.
Laois County Council 's public consultation period on their unveiled masterplan for their Stradbally road site.
As well as sports facilities and extensive parkland, it proposes to build 87 new apartments up to five storeys tall with a limited number of houses off the Stradbally road.
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