Growing Laois to need 5,000 more homes by 2027
Thousands of new houses will be needed in Laois in the next seven years to cope with a projected population rise of 10,000 people.
The population of Laois is projected to grow from the 84,500 as counted in the 2016 census, to 94,700 by 2027, reaching 97,500 by 2031.
The figures are projected for Laois by the National Planning Framework the Regional Spatial Strategy, and will form the basis of plans and state funding for infrastructure. They are being included in the 2021 to 2027 Laois County Development Plan, which goes out to the public for viewing this January.
Senior Planner Angela McEvoy said there will be about 6,000 more houses needed for the extra residents.
“The need then is to house that population. We’re looking at 6,000 new houses between 2016 and 2027. Obviously four years have passed and we have seen 817 houses that have already been built and delivered, a little more than half of them have been delivered in the open countryside, but some have happened in Portlaoise, Graiguecullen and some of the other towns.
“So between 2021 and 2027 we have approximately 5,200 houses to deliver within the county.
“Taking Portlaoise we are assuming that 29.7% of the growth will happen there which would mean approximately 2,951 people and roughly 1,700 houses. Some of those will be in infill sites, some in brown sites and some in greenfield sites within the town, that is the way the zoning has been proposed,” Ms McEvoy said.
The council Cathaoirleach Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald is concerned that the population estimate is too low, speaking at a council meeting on the plan on December 16.
“For water and wastewater services, this is a very conservative estimate of growth for Portlaoise. Growth has been phenomenal. We have to secure better infrastructure to allow it to grow, to meet the demand there. The Northern Orbital route is badly needed for infrastructure, so we are not refusing housing plans,” she said.
Cllr Caroline Dwane is also concerned.
“Given that Portlaoise saw huge growth, that’s only 700 houses a year, you could nearly take 1,500 out of that to deal with our own social housing waiting list. Are we allowing enough there? I’d be concerned. Can it be revisited in the event of needing more? The list that is there doesn’t address the people not on the list because of their income,” she said.
Ms McEvoy said the plan will be reviewed two years in.
“Obviously if more people move here we will be reviewing it or if delivery happens much quicker,” she said.