A prime parcel of land in close proximity to Portlaoise town centre has been acquired in a sale for €1.4m.
The site is located on the Stradbally Road not far from SS Peter and Paul’s parish church, opposite Bradshaw’s business and the Stradbrook apartment complex on the opposite side of the road.
The property which comprises about 26 acres with a variety of zoning designations has been bought by Laois County Council.
The land bank has considerable road frontage and was previously the home place of the Tyrrell family who were well known through their long established veterinary practice, equestrian interests and involvement in local voluntary and charitable activities such as the Kolbe Centre.
This week Laois councillors sanctioned a proposal from the local authority management to secure a loan in respect of this purchase, which is regarded as strategically important.
Part of the site will be used for housing development but the bulk of it will be retained for community and green space purposes. The sale does not include the purchase of the original Tyrrell family home which is located within the site.
The land is also prized for its amenity value as it encompasses some of what remains of the ice age esker of The Ridge of Portlaoise and the purchase will enable the Council to preserve that heritage and ecological dimension.
Nevertheless one priority will be to provide new homes and ancillary community services within the area and future plans are likely to see housing construction and possible facilities such as a crèche, small shops, doctor’s surgery and play areas. There is the possibility of sports or playing fields forming part of the composition of the property’s new uses as some of it is adjacent to the Educate Together, Maryborough NS and Gaelscoil campus at Summerhill.
In an advisory to councillors concerning the purchase the local authority’s senior planner, Angela Mc Evoy observes: “The potential within the site lies in the possibility to deliver a high quality residential development of appropriate density along the Stradbally Road.
“The opportunity to create a substantial green open space amenity ‘a green lung’ by extending the Peoples Park into this land back has merit given its heritage and biodiversity value.
“This will also improve and create waling and cycling connectivity from the Timahoe Road to the Stradbally Road and Aughnaharna schools campus and from the Town centre which will further the transition agenda as a low carbon economy.
“The schools in the Educate Together, Gael Scoil, and Marborough campus also have minimal open space or playing fields and there lies an opportunity to partner with the Department of Education to look at the potential of this land bank for an extension of their campus for recreational and amenity purposes.”
Combined with other ongoing local authority led developments on the Main Street, the Abbeyleix Road, and the former Convent and CBS sites this acquisition continues to represent a considerable investment in urban regeneration and the provision of accommodation and services in close proximity to the town centre.
New Court House
At this week’s meeting the Chief Executive of the Council, John Mulholland also confirmed that construction work is to get underway before Christmas on the new county library on the former Shaw’s site in the Lower Square.
The Courts Service are also at an advanced stage in securing a site along the southern new inner orbital road for a purpose built court house. Councillors have been campaigning for years to have the court house relocated to a more appropriate place away from Main Street.
Consideration is already underway as to the best possible alternative uses for the historic building which currently houses the courts, next to the Dunamaise Arts Centre. A county museum is one of the possibilities.
See Also: Huge jobs fair planned for Laois in 2020