A 3D image of the proposed Birr Primary Care Centre.
NO objections have been made against the proposed Primary Care Centre development in Birr during the planning process period.
The Midland Tribune has been told that the last date for submissions, either for or against, to the Council planning office was Wednesday September 14th and not a single submission had been made by the passing of the deadline.
A person connected with the development told the Tribune that he was delighted with the news. "After several years of disappointment after disappointment when it came to creating a Primary Care Centre in Birr," he said, "we are now very close to finally getting one." He said the Centre will be an excellent and very important addition to the town.
The Council is due to make a decision on October 5th on whether to give the project planning permission or not.
The PCC will be built, if permission is given, on the Brothers Field behind the Outdoor Education Centre. The Brothers Field is a large area encompassing 19 acres, including "the Ice Hole" (a hole in the ground where ice used to be stored for the adjacent Moorpark House, now the County Arms). Brothers Field is remembered fondly by generations of schoolchildren who played there. The PCC will be built on 3.5 acres of the site, a flat section right behind the Outdoor Education Centre.
Brothers Field was the third site chosen for the PCC, the first one being chosen eight years ago. In 2014 a proposal to build on the Rugby Field behind Applegreen on Wilmer Road was turned down, on architectural grounds and concerns about traffic congestion on Wilmer Road. A second proposed site on Emmet Square was turned down because of lack of sufficient car parking. In 2018 the councillors of Offaly County Council voted against rezoning the project and seemed generally opposed to a PCC in the town. However, that mindset subsequently dramatically changed and it seems now that a majority of people in the town strongly want a Primary Care Centre.
The planning applicant is BPI Investments, a Portarlington company owned by brothers Joe and Vinnie Byrne. The company is 11 years old and it buys and sells real estate.
BPI's application is to build a three storey Primary Care Centre covering 4060 square metres and accommodating: a) HSE facilities comprising consulting rooms, treatment areas, meeting rooms, offices and support spaces; b) Surgery space totalling 807 square metres for General Practitioners; c) 138 square metres for a pharmacy with two consulting rooms; d) a 175 square metres single storey ancillary structure at the rear of the Primary Care Centre for stores, waste, back-up generator and associated external plant; e) a 397.5 square metres two storey ambulance base; f) 157 car parking spaces and 16 electrical charge points.
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