Hundreds have petitioned Laois County Council against the proposed relocation of the Graiguecullen Rehab Care group to a commercial unit in a business park, as there are serious concerns over the safety of those with special needs who will daily have to brave huge volumes of traffic.
Laois TD Sean Fleming has added his voice to those objecting to the relocation of the Rehab Group from their current premises on the town’s Killeshin Road, a building they have called home for the past 37 years, to a unit at the Shamrock Business Park, Portlaoise Road, Graiguecullen.
It has been claimed that the business park is totally unsuitable for a training and resource centre to be shared by the Rehab Group and the National Learning Network, as there are only 2.5 rooms in the unit catering for up to 63 people and no outdoor facilities or garden for service users.
Deputy Fleming said there would be a clear risk to all users of the business park in view of the number of people with special needs who will be using this centre on a daily basis.
“The onus must be on the applicant to meet all necessary infrastructure improvements that are required to make the area safe,” he said.
There was already a public protest in January against the plans, and numerous submissions have been made to the council.
The objectors all point out the health and safety dangers of having a centre for people with special needs located in a commercial area where there is a constant flow of heavy goods vehicles making deliveries.
Among the various submissions was one from Ms Ursula Hayden, Graiguecullen, who said there is no garden at the proposed site, no suitable facilities, no disabled toilet, no natural light, and the building is not wheelchair friendly.
“My concerns outlined are views that are also held by many of those in our community here in Graiguecullen and also in Carlow Town,” she said, submitting a petition signed by hundreds of people in the area.
Besides the application by Deputy Fleming, the people have been supported on the Carlow side by Cllr Jennifer Murnan O’Connor, of Carlow County Council.
“The locating of a care facility for adults with disabilities in a business park is highly questionable,” she said, pointing out the long distance from the village of Graiguecullen for people using wheelchairs and those on foot.
A decision on the Rehab Group’s planning application is due from Laois County Council by February 20.