Plug pulled on major 'strategic' Laois housing development in Portlaoise

Irish Water describes the development as premature

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

portlaoise

Proposed Rathevan development

Plans for one of the biggest housing developments in Laois since the Celtic Tiger are up in the air with confirmation that plug has been pulled on the planning application.

The so-called Strategic Housing Development planned by Thomas Kelly and Sons is listed as being 'withdrawn' on Laois County Council's website.

The developer, who spent years planning the project, wanted to build a residential development made up of 262 residential units (206 houses, 56 apartments) at Rathevan in Portlaoise. The development was also due to include a creche.

The site is located off the Borris Road and borders Rathevan, the big Kilminchy estate while there are many other estates and standalone houses located nearby. The town's main secondary school campus is located a short distance from the site.

Because of the scale of the developer opted for the Strategic Housing Development planning application route to An Bord Pleanlála. The application was made in June and a decision should have been reached by October.

Laois County Council's management conditionally endorsed the project saying that there is 'clear evidence that demand for housing needs to be accommodated'. It also said the plan would help Portlaoise reach its housing target.

However, the project ran into many local objections from both residents and several Laois county councillors. More than 30 written submissions were made to An Bord Pleanála.

Significantly, a major stumbling was presented by Irish Water which described the development as 'premature' to on Bord Pleanála. The developer began consultations with Irish Water in 2018. Crucially the utility told An Bord Pleanála it had no plans to upgrade drainage or the local pumping station to deal with wastewater from the development. 

An Bord Pleanála has provided an outline of the submissions made to Laois County Council but there is no statement from the developer as to why it was withdrawn.

The planning board required to make a determination strategic housing application within 16 weeks of the lodgement of the application. The withdrawal means no determination can be made.

The application may be inspected online at http://www.rathevanshd.com/