09 Aug 2022

Green light for large retail and office facility in Offaly town

A mixed use development is planned for O'Neill Place in Tullamore

Local man James O'Connor is behind the proposed development for O'Neill Place in Tullamore

Offaly County Council has given the green light for a large mixed use development in Tullamore

The application in the name of James O’Connor will be located in O’Neill Place, just off High Street, with proposals for ground floor retail and upper level office space.

The proposal was first granted planning approval by the local authority in May 2017 and Mr O'Connor began negotiating with a government agency to take over the building, however, when Covid hit, the plans were halted. In the meantime Offaly County Council refused to extend the duration of the permission as no work had commenced on the development.

Mr O'Connor reapplied in June of this year and the plans were given the thumbs up last week.

He said he is seeking a long term tenant and is open to speaking with other government agencies.

The impressive looking design was undertaken by Patrick Little of Axis Architecture and will be a Green building which will minimise energy usage and be finished to high specifications.

The planned office units will be equipped with showers to encourage more cycling to work.

O'Neill Place is one of the key opportunity sites identified in the Offaly County Development Plan 2021 -2027. These sites were chosen because of their prominence and underutilisation. In addition to promoting local economic growth, it is considered that their redevelopment would contribute greatly to the renewal, enhancement and regeneration of the town. There are 9 such sites identified in Tullamore, including the Texas site and the harbour.

The accompanying design statement for the development outlines how it is located to the rear of Spollen's Pub and fronts directly onto O'Neill Place car park.

''The public car park is an underutilised car park with little passive supervision located off High Street, one of the most prominent streets in Tullamore,'' the statement reads.

It adds that the site is presently zoned as town centre/mixed use with the main objective set out in the County Development Plan for this zone to ''protect and strengthen the vitality and viability of town/village centres''.

It continues ''as it stands it does not achieve this. It is our client's intention to open this site up to a car park. This will assist in bringing passive supervision to the car park and draw more use to the facility. It will also strengthen the commercial offering as an identified key county town and act as a growth driver not only for the county but for the midland region.''

It stresses that the development of the ground floor will bring life to the car park and increase commercial activity in the town.

The car park to the front of the development is to be retained but moved to make allowance for a pedestrian footpath.

''We believe this development will be a positive contribution to the urban core of the town centre and help achieve the policies for key towns,'' the design statement concludes.

Offaly County Council attached a number of conditions when granting planning approval.

James O'Connor has also applied to build 6 three storey, three bedroom town houses at O'Neill Place. The council is seeking more information on this proposal.

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