18 Aug 2022

'Significant further information' provided on plans to turn convent into rehabilitation centre in Offaly town

Objections mount over revamp plans for former Offaly convent

Objections mount over revamp plans for former Offaly convent

'Significant further information' has been provided to Offaly County County regarding plans to turn a former convent in Offaly into a rehabilitation centre. 

Serenity Home Ltd sought permission in august of last year to convert the former convent in Kilcormac into a rehabilitation centre. A number of objections were received by Offaly County Council from people and groups in the area.

The company's principal activity is described as, "providing residential care activities for mental retardation, mental health, and substance abuse."

The two storey building consists of 10 bedrooms and six bathrooms and it has been extended to the rear. It also has rear walled garden areas encompassing a courtyard, an apple orchard, footpaths, hedging, ornate circular water fountain feature and a greenhouse.

When it sought further information, Offaly County Council raised a number of concerns including 'serious concerns' regarding the lack of opportunities for engagement with the community that the proposed facility would offer and it contribution to the 'vitality and vibrancy' of Kilcormac town centre. 

The local authority also sought specifics on the services to be offered, plans for the structures on the site, and issues regarding lighting and signage.

In a response on December 22, that stretches to 63 pages, Serenity Home Ltd, addressed the concerns regarding the building itself. 

It provided plans for the building and answered questions regarding siteworks inside and outside the building. 

On the proposed use of the building, it said the building will be used as a residential centre and rooms inside the building such as classrooms and kitchens will be used for the same purpose.

It said accommodation is required for people attending the unit and the bedrooms and bathrooms would be necessary for this. 

It also adds that the building is 'ideally suited' to the proposed use as it has facilities in the one building including the enclosed garden and open space to the rear

In a separate response dated November 19, the company addresses the issues raised regarding the facility itself. 

With regard to site suitability and community engagement, Serenity Home Ltd says its first undertaking after identifying the building was to meet with local people and councillors to meet with it adding that it did engage with the community on separate occasions including a meetings with local councillors, a meeting with families adjacent to the property and a separate meeting with other residents on the main street in September. 

It adds that there is a 'dire need' for a suitable location for a Rehab Centre in the Midlands due to the lack of an existing facility in the region.

It says that the former convent was for sale for a long period of time with no local enterprise wanting to take over the facility adding that the property is suitable for a number of reasons including size, location and the fact that is an existing residential facility. 

The company also provided extensive details on the programmes to be offered in the proposed facility and answered a number of third party submissions.

You can view the full details of the further information submitted by clicking here

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