109acre farm in midlands discounted by 95% after distribution depot plans fail
When I lived in Laois the 'pass through' nature of the county was often lamented upon. "People only pass through Laois, they rarely stop," was a common complaint and referred to tourists, businesses, factories and job opportunities which passed the county by. Laois always seemed to feature as a stop on the way to somewhere else.
However, in the early 2000s an exciting and innovative concept too shape.
Designed to take advantage of Laois's geographical position at the crossroads of Ireland's southern and south-western routes, the idea envisaged developing what was called an 'inland port'.
Utilising the motorway and railway, there were plans to create an enormous distribution hub just beside the M7 Motorway near Portlaoise with a spur to the main Dublin/Cork/Limerick/Tralee rail line.
The venture was to be built on a partnership between the local authority, statutory agencies and private enterprise and it had all the appearance of a real winner.
The proposed location for this port was a farm on the outskirts of Portlaoise beside the motorway. The land with frontage onto the motorway and access to the town was purchased by a local developer for about €12m.
Plans for the farm included a full motorway service station, office blocks, a park-and-ride facility with a link to the railway station along with extensive warehousing and storage facilities.
Unfortunately it was the right idea at the wrong time, the collapse of 2008 took the wind and the finance out of the project.