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21/09/2021

Apartments for young people with complex need in Laois town put on ice

mountrath laois

Two apartment blocks will be built beside this property

New sheltered accommodation for young people with complex needs in Mountrath is on ice after the lodging of an an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

Laois County Council granted planning permission to Harmony Care in June for two blocks of apartments in a new development at Roadstone House, on Patrick Street, Dysartbeagh.

The company, which as a registered address in Portarlington, applied in December 2020 to construct two, two-storey, apartment blocks.

It said block one will consist of  four one-bedroom apartments, stairwell and lift shaft. The second block would include three one-bedroom apartments, a communal/office staff area, bin bay, cycle shelter, parking and all associated site works.

The application from Harmony Care, whose listed directors are Ray Carroll and Clare Brooks, outlined who would live in the apartments.

"This is a shelter living accommodation for young adults with special need. The planning submitted to LCC for eight apartments is to provide long term residential care to adults who have complex needs such as cerebral palsy, acquired brain injury, intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities.

"All clients will have their own apartments with many home comforts in their own living space. The interior of these apartments will be specially designed to meet the needs of the person who requires long term care," said the application.

Harmony Care added that the type of housing is in high demand with private companies having to 'take up the mantle'.

Laois County Council's planners sought further information on the development during the process but ultimately gave the green light this summer.

However, there was an objection during the council process has materialised into an appeal lodged with An Bord Pleanála. Mark and Edel Gorman of Patrick Street made a submission to the planning appeals board in mid-July.

They say they live beside the development site and say they have 'serious concerns' about what is planned. They say development is of a commerical nature in an area zoned residential and as such contravenes the County Development Pan.

They add that there are serious issues with traffic flow / management due to a number of factors including the closeness of the community school to the site. They believe extra traffic will increase the risk for all road users.

The objectors claim that the car parking provision does not comply with standards set down by Laois County Council. They add that the open space provision does not comply and is 'wholly inadequate'.

The Gormans say there have been historical issues with water drainage at the site with a sewer pipe from the existing Roadstone House crossing their front lawn to a manhole at the corner of their property. They say this situation is  'no longer acceptable' as it is a 'burden' on their property.

The add that the existing sewer pipe will not be able to cope with the usage required from the apartments.

They have particular concerns with the design of block 2 located at the rear of the property. They say the new building will 'completely overshadow' a large section of their back garden. The claim windows on the block will 'seriously compromise' their privacy.  

The appeal means that Harmony Care's plan must be put on ice as An Bord Pleanála says a decision may not be reached until November 2021.

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