THE fears of Clonad residents over major development plans in nearby Togher were highlighted at a council meeting.
People in the Clonad area are worried about road safety and delays as a result of the Togher project, where plans include a 76-acre business park developed by Laois County Council, a motorway service station and a large Supermac’s outlet.
Cllr Willie Aird raised residents’ concerns at a meeting of Portlaoise Municipal District. He asked the council to liaise with people in Clonad regarding the works at Togher, just off the Abbeyleix Road roundabout in Portlaoise, so as to allay their fears regarding road safety.
Director of services Kieran Kehoe replied that the Togher development works will be on the north side of the M7 motorway, a substantial distance from Clonad, which is a few kilometres south of the motorway. He added that the works will be on a greenfield site, so road safety will not be affected.
Cllr Aird said nobody was objecting to the developments, but he was very concerned about residents using the area, in particular the prospect of big queues coming off the roundabout similar to those at Kildare Village.
He said: “It should not be left up to people to come in here to make sure that the road infrastructure will cater for their needs. The exit is not far from the junction. I want to ensure that they can travel the way they are travelling at the moment and that they are not impacted as part of the development at Togher, which we support 110%. I also want to make sure that the few people who still cycle on that road are not impacted. All I am asking is that you protect the rights of people living there.”
The Portlaoise councillor added that he was simply asking the council to give Clonad residents an opportunity to look at the plans and see how they would be affected. He wanted to tell the residents that he had alerted “the whole of Laois County Council” to the issue.
Mr Kehoe pointed out that councillors approved the ‘Part 8’ involved, as part of the planning when a local authority is developing a project. He said it was not appropriate to discuss any current planning applications.
Cathaoirleach Mary Sweeney recalled that there was a proposal for all Portlaoise Municipal District councillors to visit the Togher site. She and cllr Aird agreed that such a visit should go ahead.
Mr Kehoe told the meeting that a consultant is preparing a master plan for the Togher site and the council would definitely consult with any residents affected.