PLANS for a new petrol station located at the Midway Hotel on the Abbeyleix Road in Portlaoise have met with stiff opposition from residents and local authorities over serious concerns that safety measures have not been addressed on the busy stretch of road which meets the motoryway.
Midway Development Company Limited applied to Laois County Council in July last year to revise the development at the Togher interchange, where a hotel, leisure facility and foodcourt are already located.
The proposed alterations comprise the development of a petrol station with an ancillary convenience retail unit and off licence. There will also be ancillary facilities such as a car wash facility and valet service area, six island petrol pumps, a forecourt canopy and underground fuel storage tanks. There is also a provision for four car parking spaces and associated signs. Access to the proposed development is via the previously permitted entrance and exit roads.
A number of objections have been lodged against the new development. A Ms Nicola Walsh and Mr Noel Marum made a submission to the council raising concerns over possible surface water flooding in the Meelick area, as they felt the River Triogue is already unable to accommodate the existing surface water. They also felt there were road safety issues, with Ms Walsh claiming she had witnessed several accidents at the nearby roundabout and had been involved in “near misses” herself.
Another objection was lodged by Mr Joseph Warren, who raised concerns over traffic flow problems and the danger to road users. He also pointed out that there is already an existing service station some 700 mtrs away.
A rival service station owner has also lodged an objection with the council. Mr Paul Dunne, of the Dysart Service Station on the Abbeyleix Road, objected on the grounds of traffic congestion and the proposed size of a number of the underground storage tanks at the site.
The National Roads Authority (NRA) also objected, on the grounds that the new development “has the serious potential to negatively impact on the safety and efficiency of the adjoining strategic national road network”.
The matter is currently with An Bord Pleanala and a decision is due in the coming months.