An Bord Pleanala have given final permission to Portlaoise Service Station Ltd for the construction of a new medical centre on the town’s Dublin Road, rejecting an objection lodged against the plans by the developer of a rival project.
The site, which is located opposite Portlaoise Hospital, has had something of a tumultuous planning history. The first proposal for a medical centre or doctor’s surgery was made back in 2009 by Mr Michael Hanley, owner of the Applegreen Service Station, who was granted permission by Laois County Council to change the use of the gym located next to the service station to a pharmacy and doctor’s surgery.
At the time, Mr Richard and Mr Jeremiah Downey, directors of Portlaoise Service Station Ltd, objected to Mr Hanley’s plans and appealed the council’s decision to An Bord Pleanala, but subsequently withdrew their appeal.
Four years on and Mr Hanley had still not commenced work on the surgery, when last year Portlaoise Service Station Ltd made their own application to Laois County Council to build a two-storey medical centre at a disused site next to Applegreen.
Mr Hanley subsequently objected to this, saying there was already an over proliferation of granted pharmacy units in the area.
In a letter to the council dated January 9 this year, Mr Jason Redmond, a chartered engineer acting on behalf of Portlaoise Service Station Ltd, addressed Mr Hanley’s objection by saying:
“It would appear Mr Hanley’s main objection is that granting the proposed development would provide competition to Mr Hanley’s planning application for a pharmacy unit.”
In the same letter, Mr Redmond addressed concerns raised by a number of residents of the Dublin Road.
Laois County Council granted permission to Portlaoise Service Station Ltd, a decision Mr Hanley then appealed. An Bord Pleanala have now ruled in favour of Portlaoise Service Station Ltd.