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Rugby club fights logistics centre proposal

Appeal against development on former Hewlett-Packard site in Leixlip

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Development: The Hewlett Packard facility in Leixlip, Co Kildare. Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Development: The Hewlett Packard facility in Leixlip, Co Kildare. Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

Development: The Hewlett Packard facility in Leixlip, Co Kildare. Photo: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

A local rugby club has appealed a decision to permit the first phase of the development of a massive logistics centre by a vehicle controlled by investment giant Blackrock Asset Management at the former Hewlett-Packard site at Leixlip in Co Kildare.

EFIV Irish Property ICAV secured permission from the local council last month for the construction of a logistics warehouse and associated offices extending over 25,268 sq m. It will be used by a 140-year-old international logistics firm which expects to initially employ 200 people at the location.

The investment vehicle purchased the former Hewlett-Packard site in conjunction with Cork developer Michael O’Flynn in 2018 for €51m. It was reported last November that they have agreed to sell the site to a Swiss investor for about €100m.

The former Hewlett-Packard operation once employed thousands of workers who were mainly engaged in the manufacture of print cartridges. The site is now known as the Liffey Business Campus. A residual Hewlett-Packard business remains at the location.

A master plan for the site is still being developed, but the investment vehicle told the council last year that an “early opportunity” had been identified for an initial tenant to locate their Irish headquarters within the campus.

“This provides a substantial prospect for the landowner to create early employment opportunities within the campus without conflicting with the ongoing master planning exercise,” planners for the investment vehicle insisted.

It’s envisaged that the development of the facility would occur in two phases, enabling the tenant to occupy the first phase and then complete the second phase.

“This phased approach will allow the initial tenant to have certainty in their ability to cater for future planned growth in the near-term,” planners added.

But the rugby club objected to the plans and has appealed the council’s intention to grant permission for the development to An Bord Pleanála.

Planning consultancy firm Declan Brassil & Co, told the planning watchdog in its submission on behalf of the rugby club that its client remains “strongly opposed” to the development on the basis that it “represents a significant risk to the safety of users and visitors of the club and other on-site facilities”.

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