Main Street Portarlington
Portarlington has been designated as the only “self-sustaining growth town” in Laois the next Laois County Development Plan 2021-27.
Senior planner Angela McEvoy has explained the designation for Portarlingon, Laois’ second biggest town after Portlaoise,.
“It has a moderate level of services and we have seen a lot of growth in that town in the last couple of census periods. It has great transport links as well insofar as it has a key rail link,” she said.
Portlaoise and Graiguecullen beside Carlow town are the county’s key growth towns, expected to see the biggest population growth.
Going down in size from Portarlington, four Laois towns identified as needing a little more support are Mountmellick, Abbeyleix, Stradbally and Mountrath, described as “self sustaining towns”.
These are described in the plan as towns with weak employment but high levels of population growth, with people relying on other areas for employment and or services.
The next category of Laois towns ‘providing a local service’ lists Durrow, Rathdowney and Ballylinan. Next are villages Clonaslee, Killenard, Ballyroan and Borris-in-Ossory.
Lastly is the designation of rural areas which includes the Slieve Blooms and waterways areas.
The new plan will allocate an estimated population size for each area by 2027 to give guidance to future planning. In general the population of Laois is expected to grow by about 10,000 in the next seven years to 94,700 people.
The draft plan goes out for public consultation in January 8 until March 19, for the public to add their views. Because of Covid there will be no ‘town hall’ public days, but instead webinars will be held. The final plan will be introduced in mid 2021.