06 Jul 2022

Unauthorised development at Emo Court rejected by Laois planners

Unauthorised development at Emo Court rejected by Laois planners

Emo Court, Laois

An unauthorised development created at the entrance to Laois's finest tourist attraction, has been rejected for planning approval.

Emo House Developments had sought permission to retain a pathway it had already made leading from new houses through the woodland onto the local road through Emo Court parklands. The company had also sought permission to erect tall gates and pillars on the path. 

The company had been issued with Unauthorised Development warning letters last April over the laneway by Laois County Council. 

The application sought to "retain existing avenue through forested area. Planning permission is also sought for x 4 no. entrance pillars and gates; carparking area for staff and visitors; new workshop; septic tank treatment system and all associated site works".

Both permission requests have been rejected by Laois County Council.

Their roads section said that the applicant had not demonstrated to their satisfaction that 120m sightlines for a local primary roadway could be achieved, and recommended a refusal due to the lack of road safety.

A lengthy submission had been made against the application by Dr D Phelan from Portlaoise. He contended that the application should be "unequivocally rejected", saying that there was insufficient line of sight.

He also said that the plan to prevent the public from parking near the lane would have a "serious and detrimental effect" on the public's enjoyment of Emo Court.

He described the substantial houses already built by the company, and more they have planned as "piecemeal" in what is a "sensitive high amenity recreation area with mature woodlands leading to Laois' leading tourist attraction".

Dr Phelan claimed that the lane was installed illegally and then later permitted only to thin out trees, and that seeking now to add a gateway, pillars and carpark was changing the "narrative".

Below: image supplied by Dr Phelan of the new unauthorised lane. 

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