News

Appeal on Birr Primary Care Centre submitted to Bord Pleanala

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Stakeholders involved in proposals to bring a primary care centre to Birr have lodged an appeal to Bord Pleanala after permission to proceed with the project was refused by the local authority recently.
Last month, an application for a material contravention to Birr Town Plan, which would have made way for the construction of new GP surgeries, a pharmacy and 94 car parking spaces and other services at the Birr Rugby Club owned site at Scurragh, Birr was voted down by majority of councillors by a margin of 12 votes to six. As a result, the planning application to Offaly County Council was subsequently refused by the local authority.
It's understood since then a number of meetings have taken place over the last number of weeks in a bid to move the project forward and speaking to the Tribune this week, Cllr John Clendennen said an appeal has been lodged with the planning board in respect of the matter.
"This is welcome because there's a major project that will benefit from it from a medical perspective. Ultimately, if the existing site that is on the table is lost, the rugby club and other sporting organisations are the ones that are going to lose out the most," he remarked.
Cllr Clendennen said since the material contravention vote against the proposed development, he had explored "all options with relevant stakeholders to progress the development. I firmly believe there is a strong will among the people of the town and surrounding area for a primary care centre, and considering the unprecedented vote at the June Meeting of Offaly County Council, I took an unprecedented step in calling on Offaly County Council to conduct a (plebiscite) vote to determine the true will amongst the general public of the town. However, it was ruled out of order.
"In recent days, the developer and Rugby Club have informed me that an appeal has been submitted to An Bord Pleanála. All we can do now is hope that the board will recognise the hugely positive potential for the town of Birr and surrounding area, and grant it the much needed approval."
Cllr Sean Maher also said he was delighted to "hear from the developer" that an appeal was lodged with an Bord Pleanala in respect of the proposed project. "He assured me that Birr will have a modern health facility to cater for the needs of the town and surrounding hinterland," he added.

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