Sunday 24 September 2017

Site is the 'most suitable location' for health centre

THE developers behind a proposal to build a major new primary care centre in Balbriggan have laid out the rationale for the project in a planning application lodged with Fingal County Council.

Rhonellen Developments Ltd is behind the project and on the company's behalf, Downey Hynes Partnership prepared a planning application for the development where the need for the facility is explained and the selection of the site on Dublin Street in Balbriggan is explained. Explaining the need for a major health facility in Balbriggan, the application states: ' There is a distinct lack of primary care facilities in Balbriggan and given the population size, a large demand for such services is present, according to the HSE.' Laying out the process of site selection that arrived at the site in Dublin Street, the planning application reveals that four other sites in Balbriggan were considered by Rhonellen Developments. The application states: 'The subject site was selected by the design team following an initial assessment of four other sites within Balbriggan. ' Three of these were in the town centre but were deemed to be inadequate in size, unsuitable in terms of access or had site service issues. The remaining site was located on the periphery near the business park and was a greenfield site.' The application states that Rhonellen settled on the Dublin Street site because: 'It was our considered opinion based on a sequential assessment and on a site suitability selection assessment process which explored issues such as access, sightlines, location, zoning, local planning objectives, planning history, building context and surrounding form and size, that the site was the most suitable location for a development of this type and size within Balbriggan.' The application emphasises the opportunity at this site to regenerate a semi-derelict area of the town, saying: 'It was also an existing brownfield site as opposed to an edge of town greenfield location which in most cases would be selected for ease of construction. 'However, we advocated the regeneration approach and as such recommended the subject site accordingly.' The planning application also reveals that there were two pre-planning meetings on the project between the developers and Fingal County Council. The first of these happened on October 4 in the middle of the political and media storm over primary care centres in Swords and Balbriggan and Minister James Reilly's role in prioritising the projects and the second meeting occurred on October 22, leading to the planning application being lodged on October 26, five days before the October 31 deadline set by the HSE.