17 May 2022

Controversial apartment block development beside Laois school refused permission

Controversial apartments approved next to schools in Laois town

An Bord Pleanala has rejected a controversial plan to build eight two storey blocks of apartments next to a school in a Laois town.

The initial application by Corrigeen Builders to construct 36 two bedroom apartments on the site of an old industrial building on Davitt Road in Mountmellick had been conditionally approved by Laois County Council. 

However, the plans were appealed to An Bord Pleanala by the Davitt Court Residents Committee and the Board of Management of School Phadraig Naofa Boys National School and the school itself.  

When the plans initially went to Laois County Council was Scoil Phádraig Naofa. Fr Michael Murphy said it would impact on their child protection obligations because the school and playground would be overlooked from the apartment windows. He described this  as "a very real concern" for the school authorities.

The residents of Davitt Court housing estate adjoining the site also objected in a shared submission, citing overlooking, lack of parking and public spaces, flood risks, traffic hazards, lack of social infrastructure in Mountmellick.

In its decision, An Bord Pleanala stated that in the absence of a Natura Impact Statement it could not be sure that the development would not negatively impact  the River Barrow and the River Nore SAC(Special Area of Conservation). 

It further expressed concerns about the proposed connection to the public sewer. The board stated that it couldn’t be satisfied that the network would be able to accommodate the additional sewage generated by the development. 

The board also found that the development could have adverse effects on the environment including potential flood risks. Having regard to all the matters, the board refused permission for the development.

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