Published 06/11/2012 | 10:09
A €10 million primary care centre could open its doors in Balbriggan as early as the summer of 2014 after a planning application for the development was lodged with Fingal County Council.
The development has been swept up in a national political storm over the last few weeks but developers, Rhonellen Developments Ltd are pressing ahead with the ambitious project that will employ 58 health professionals delivering health services from GP care to speech therapy, occupational therapy, dentistry and mental health care to the people of Balbriggan. The proposal has the full backing of the HSE who sent a letter of support for the planning application where it said delivering a primary care centre in Balbriggan in a timely manner was 'of utmost importance to the HSE'. Proposers of the project say the centre will provide badly needed health facilities in the growing town of Balbriggan while regenerating a semiderelict site at the entrance to the town centre. THE LONG-AWAITED primary care centre for Balbriggan which has found itself at the centre of a political storm in recent weeks is a step closer to reality after a planning application for the development was lodged at Fingal County Council. In time for its October 31 deadline set by the HSE, Rhonellen Developments Ltd lodged a planning application for the centre for a ' brownfield' site on Dublin Street in Balbriggan along with plans for a restaurant/cafe, pharmacy and retail unit and 50 new parking spaces along with a new entrance and exit onto Dublin Street. The development came to national attention when Minister for Health, James Reilly TD added it to a list of priority locations for a primary care centre but the facility has been on the drawing board at the HSE for many years and has been eagerly awaited by the people of Balbriggan who have suffered a severe lack of health facilities in what has become one of the fastest growing towns in the country. The application seeks permission to demolish four structures to make way for the development on the .38 hectare site which is zoned ' MC' by Fingal County Council. An MC zoning is to ' provide for and improve major town centre facilities'. There is also an objective in the current Fingal County Development Plan for the site that asks any building constructed there to 'provide for a high quality gateway building of a suitable scale to mark the entrance to Balbriggan Town Centre'. The development is a threestorey building housing a stateof-the-art primary care centre, employing two primary care teams and close to 60 health professionals in all providing services from GP care to dentistry, speech therapy, occupational therapy and mental health services. The application, prepared by Downey Hynes Partnership for Rhonellen Developments Ltd said the development addresses a need for such facilities in the town, which has been confirmed by the HSE and also will help to regenerate of what they called 'obsoleted and derelict lands and buildings' on a strategic site marking the start of the town centre in Balbriggan.