PLANS have been unveiled for the construction of a primary healthcare centre in Killaloe, which will employ over 50 people, if the development secures planning approval.
John Deegan has submitted a planning application to Clare County Council seeking permission for a major new centre covering 2,775 metres squared over two levels, accommodating a shared reception and a number of healthcare and community tenants with associated accommodation, substation, parking, signage and site works.
The development also consists of 12 semi-detached dwellings providing sheltered housing for the elderly with associated parking and site works.
Mr Deegan hopes to be able to provide easy access for patients as close to their home as possible as well as a broad spectrum of care services through a primary care team.
This team would include contracted providers such as general practitioners, dentists, pharmacists, opticians and Health Service Executive (HSE) employees such as public health nurses and allied health professionals.
The site located within the settlement boundary of Killaloe town, is within a four-minute walk of the town centre but outside the architectural conservation area.
Public footpaths connect the site to the town affording the health centre and occupants of the sheltered housing easy access to the centre.
The site can be accessed from the north by the Hill Road and from the south by Convent Hill Road. Vehicular access on two sides, in conjunction with adequate car parking, makes the site very accessible for motorists, as well as ambulances and community transport. Convent Hill will function as the main entrance for vehicles.
The application utilises 1.277 hectares of the applicant’s 1.656 hectare site. The remainder of the site is occupied by farm buildings, which will be decommissioned to assist in reducing the surface water loading from the proposed development.
It is intended that the centre will serve a large catchment area extending into East Clare, North Tipperary and North Limerick, according to report submitted to the council by architect, Garwin Farren.
Stressing that time was of the essence in ensuring this facility had the support of everyone involved, the applicant requested the planning authority to condition items rather than delaying the development through any request for further information.
The report stated the HSE would be taking a long term unbroken lease of 25 years, which meant that the building will be a permanent addition to healthcare provision in the area.
The primary care building consists of 956 metres squared of dedicated and shared HSE and GP accommodation and 272 metres squared of general circulation. An area of 486 metres squared has been provided on each floor for the purpose of future expansion and other related health and social care provision.
“A number of existing health providers in the area wish to come on board. These groups are currently providing a service in unsuitable conditions and are in detailed discussions with the applicant.
“Senior executive planner, Gordon Daly has agreed that the primary care centre doesn’t require a material contravention of the Local Area Plan (LAP).
“The site is strategically placed to benefit from the future Killaloe bypass, which provides slip roads directly to both Convent Hill Road and Hill Road,” the report stated.
The report noted that concern had been expressed that one of the sewerage treatment facilities is working close to capacity and a moratorium is placed on the granting of planning permissions.
However, the report pointed out that the economic climate has changed and the building of housing in the area had come to a standstill.
“The key answer to this concern is the existing grant of permission for 14 two-bedroom apartments and 32 three-bedroom apartments, the permission for which has now expired. This alone frees up capacity, which would have been used for housing to enable the provision of this community facility.
“The grant of permission for 87 houses is due to expire in five months; 57 of these houses have not even been started and work has stopped. These 57 houses will not be substantially started before this grant of permission expires and the 30 that are started will not all be finished.
“There will be no appetite for such properties for some time to come. This capacity is available for the provision of the primary care centre.
“The applicant is proposing the use of economy flush toilets and spray taps where infection control permits and economy flush toilets, therefore reducing the amount of spare capacity, referred to above, which will be used,” the report added.