A landmark former school building in a Laois village that has been vacant for over 20 years is set to be transformed out of dereliction into a new housing development.
Laois County Council has given the go-ahead for nine new houses to be built in the village of Clonaslee that will see the partial demolition of a former VEC school building, locally called the ‘old tech’ building on the Rosenallis Road.
The former technical secondary school in the Slieve Bloom mountain village was up for sale by an auctioneer for just €50,000 in October 2017.
At the time, Laois councillors wanted the site bought by the local authority for new council houses for the area.
The former Clonaslee VEC school is empty for the past 20 years, during which time it has deteriorated and been vandalised, now boarded up.
Laois County Council recently granted conditional planning permission to John Rowney to go ahead with building nine houses on the site on June 21.
The plan is to partially demolish, extend and modify the former school which is a protected structure.
This will allow the developer to build two semi-detached houses.
The demolition of the ‘scout hall’ is also part of the plan and to build three two-storey terraced houses along the cut road and four two-storey semi-detached houses to the rear of the site using new access onto Hillside View estate.
The Conservation Report attached to the planning documents said the building was in ‘severe disrepair’.
‘The property has now fallen into a state of severe disrepair and it is inevitable that the longer the property is allowed to remain in its present condition, the more likely it is that the condition of the building will deteriorate even further and at a more accelerated pace.”
Cllr Seamus McDonald made a written submission representation of his support for the plan.
The school building's dereliction has been an issue for the hard-working Tidy Towns group in the past.
The main building measures 1,292 sq feet and sits on a 0.42 ha site. There are outbuildings and prefabs also on the site.
The school building is zoned Residential and when it was up for sale Sherry Fitzgerald described it as “a traditional old school building” that has “development potential” as well as the potential for tourism in the Laois village.