02 Jul 2022

Landmark Portarlington site set for new social housing and community hub in Laois Offaly town

portarlington laois offaly

A social housing provider that has embarked on a big development in Portlaoise has lodged plans for a similar project in Portarlington which will include new community facilities for the Laois Offaly town.

The Sophia Housing Association has lodged an application for planning permission for a substantial residential development  at the former Presentation Convent /school in Patrick Street and the adjoining Parish lands 

The over 4,000 square metre project will include building on land attached to the convent between Coláiste Íosagáin and the Tullamore Road and property between St Joseph's Parish Church and the Bog Road.

The development will comprise 39 new houses and apartment home. Of these 28 will be new 2/3 storey houses. These new homes will be made up of six three-bed homes for six people and 22  two-bed homes for four people.

The project will involve the knocking of recent modern additions to the old school and change of use to the old building to the north of the former convent to two two-story houses.

Modern additions to the protected former Presentation convent school will be knocked and two floors in the building will be converted to nine apartments.

Sophia says the rest of the old building will be converted for parish, pastoral and community use. This will include a reception, coffee area, general purpose hall, committee rooms, exhibition space, offices and ancillary accommodation.

Existing garages, bike sheds and two glasshouses are set to be demolished or removed. 

Access to the development on the Offaly side of the town will be via a new pedestrian / vehicle access from the Tullamore Road.

Sophia is set to lodge the application with Offaly County Council. The housing agency placed a site notice at the property last week.

Offaly County Council is getting €80,000 Historic Structure Funds grants between this year and next for work on the former Presentation Convent on the Tullamore Road in Portarlington. The money will be spent in two tranches of €40,000.

Sophia works with Local Authorities, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the HSE, TUSLA and a range of other partners to deliver homes.

Sophia and Midlands Simon Community entered their innovative collaboration agreement in 2016. 

The housing agency has worked with Laois County Council to embark on an ambitious social housing project in the heart of Portlaoise at the former Presentation Covent school and lands. 

Housing associations are independent, not-for-profit charities. In general, they provide affordable rented housing for people who cannot afford to pay private sector rents or buy their own homes, or for particular groups, such as older people or homeless people.

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