01 Jul 2022

Solution right across the road from chaotic traffic problems at Portarlington school


Sandy Lane NS

Traffic is chaotic at a growing Portarlington school according to a councillor who wants a strip of a large site nearby to be used so parents can safely drop their children to school.

Cllr Aidan Mullins raised issues with Sandy Lane National School at the Portarlington Graiguecullen Municipal District meeting. He called on Laois County Council to progress the acquisition of land for a parking area for school buses and cars.

In a written reply, Mr Adrian Barrett, Senior Engineer, outlined the council’s approach.

“A new dropping-off lay-by opposite the primary school on Sandy Lane was included in planning permission (09/357) which was previously granted for a development on the private land opposite the school. This planning application is expired since 28/06/2020.

"Installation of a lay-by opposite to the primary school will be included as a condition for any future planning applications for this site. In the interim, the council will seek funding from the National Transport Authority to progress a solution to the issues identified at this location,” he said in a written reply.

Cllr Mullins said more urgency must be shown.

“The situation is actually getting worse over the last few years because the number of pupils attending this school now I think it's about 100,” he said.

The Sinn Féin councillor told officials that Sandy Lane is narrow with the school on a very bad bend. 

“Parents are dropping the kids off, toddlers, with nowhere to park,” he said.

He said they are forced to stop in places that result in Sandy Lane being blocked which impacts other children and the buses which have nowhere to pull in.  St Michael's Park is also affected.

“There's actually chaos there at school opening and closing times. Everyone recognises it is a serious problem,” he said. 

Cllr Mullins said there is a vacant site across the road which is vacant a small piece of which could be used as a layby parking area.

He said was not satisfied that this solution could only be considered in a future planning application for the site. He feared it could take some time before any development would be considered on the site.

“I'm sure the strip that you need for the layby parking isn't going to a big commercial loss to the owner,” he said.

He hoped that getting funding from the NTA would allow the local authority to purchase the necessary plot.

Cllr Mullins was supported by Cllr Paschal McEvoy. He said there are major problems with parking outside most schools but solutions are not possible.

“In Portarlington and there is a solution in the land across the road that is lying idle,” he said. He said it is important that funding would be given.

“Children's safety is paramount,” he said.

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