Laois land rezoning opens potential for building boom in Portlaoise

Michelle Hogan

Reporter:

Michelle Hogan

Laois County Council zone extra land for up to 600 additional houses in Portlaoise

Laois County Council zone extra land for up to 600 additional houses in Portlaoise

Portlaoise town could be on the verge of a housing boom with an additional 18 hectares of land rezoned for new developments following the Chief Executive of Laois County Council’s report on the Draft Portlaoise Local Area Plan.

Chief Executive John Mulholland told a special council meeting on Tuesday that this additional land will allow for up to 500 or 600 more houses to be built.

This brings the total number of potential residential units that could be built in Portlaoise to 2,100 in the next five to six years.

The council had zoned 23 hectares for residential units but after today’s meeting a total of 41 hectares is now zoned for future housing developments. Submission from the public on rezoning land were brought before county councillors.

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At the beginning of the meeting, Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald outlined the need for additional housing in Portlaoise to be included in the Local Area Plan due to expected population growth. She suggest that the council “aim for a bit more”.

Director of Services at Laois County Council, Kieran Kehoe, said that the population in Portlaoise is expected to reach over 25,000 by 2023 which is a 15 percent increase from the 2011 Census figure of a 22,050 population.

Some of the areas that have been zoned for potential new builds in the coming years includes almost seven hectares of land near Kilminchy. Garryduff Properties submitted a proposal to rezone the land beside Kilminchy to allow for development, it was agreed this would be a good location for houses. 

A submission was made by Mr Peter Naughton to rezone over 1.5 hectares of land on the Stradbally Road in Portlaoise to allow for a new development. This was rejected by the Chief Executive who said the capacity had been reached.  Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald proposed that this land would be rezoned for a new development and this was seconded by Cllr Willie Aird. The councillors' decision overruled the Chief Executive and new houses could now be built on the land at the Stradbally Road.

Land on the Mountrath Road in Portlaoise that was zoned as open space has been rezoned as residential and planning permission to build 12 houses and a creche on the land is currently with An Bord Pleanala. It is a requirement that open green spaces will be included in the design.

Further smaller areas like a 0.9 hectare patch of land near Marian Avenue, on the Old Knockmay Road was rezoned for new housing. This could potentially have one or two houses.

There is a capacity limit on the amount of land that can be zoned for housing in the town. This led to a number of areas that had previously been zoned for residential use being rezoned to strategic areas to allow for the newly rezoned land that has the potential to be built on sooner.

A large field behind the Killeshin hotel, off Collier’s Lane in Portlaoise was rezoned from New Proposed Residential to Strategic Residential Reserve, to be revisited in two years time. This allows for other land in the town to be zoned for New Proposed Residential while staying within capacity.

The council will prepare the amendments agreed today in the next three weeks and the new plan will be put out for public display before the plan is finalised in October.