Plans to build a 72-house estate in Stradbally have moved a step closer.
Cllrs have voted unanimously for a material contravention of the county development plan, clearing the way for planning permission to be granted for the large estate beside St Colman’s NS.
The contravention was recommended by a council chief executive John Mulholland at the latest meeting of Laois County Council.
The private estate will include 10% for social housing, or seven homes for people on the county council’s housing waiting list.
A discussion also took place about the concerns of residents in Church Avenue.
They have raised concerns over an increase in traffic coming out at the junction near the church – a junction which is usually very busy with school traffic and the multiple businesses which operate up there.
Director of Services Kieran Kehoe said that this had been looked into an the option is there to create an entrance on the Athy Road – but that will not be availed of in the first few years.
Developers lodged a planning application last May for 72 houses on a ten-acre site beside the school, with plans including 40 new school car parking spaces and two new sports pitches for students.
The planning application from developers Langville Properties Ltd is for eight two-storey two-bedroom terraced houses, 30 two storey three-bedroom terraced houses, 14 two-storey three bedroom semi-detached houses, 16 two-storey semi-detached four-bedroom houses and four two storey four bedroom detached houses.
The plans include a number of open public spaces , 159 parking bays and new access for cars, cyclists and pedestrians.
There will also be a new school car parking area that will add 40 spaces to the existing car park, which is connected to the school yard at St. Colman’s NS, together with two additional playing pitches for the school.
The estate will have vehicle access and a pedestrian/cyclist gate at the northern boundary of the site to Church Lane at Church Avenue.
The required material contravention of the Laois county council development plan was proposed at the council meeting by cllr Paschal McEvoy, who welcomed the fact that the school would get two acres of land as part of the project.
The Stradbally cllr said the second phase of the housing development would have another exit on the Athy Road.
His proposal was seconded by cllr Tom Mulhall and agreed unanimously.
Cllr Mulhall pointed out that there are four housing estates further up the road from the site and a number of private houses, as well as a variety businesses that include McKeon Stone.
“My only worry is the extra volume of traffic that the new housing estate will bring, so we need traffic management in place on Church Avenue or development charges to make improvements.
Within the next four or five years, there will be a huge volume of traffic on Church Avenue, so I would like to see the county council put a roundabout there or whatever facilities are needed to manage traffic.”
Director of services Kieran Kehoe said the site had been accessed fully by the council’s road design section, as planning permission would not be granted if the housing development was going to cause traffic issues.
Mr Kehoe confirmed that there would be an exit onto the Athy Road in future and that the additional two acres for St Colman’s NS would facilitate invaluable playing areas at the school.
He added that only two submissions were made on the planning application during the public consultation period.
One was in complete support if the housing development and the second was from the another local authority in terms of a boundary treatment issue.