A major development proposed for a site in the centre of Milltown has received criticism from local councillor Mike O’Shea, who says the lands in question, which are privately owned, should only be used for educational purposes.
Ross Building and Maintenance Solutions Ltd has applied to Kerry County Council for a residential respite centre consisting of 46 en-suite bedrooms along with treatments rooms; activity rooms; dining and lounge rooms; and staff rooms.
The plans also include an assisted living community consisting of 12 two-bedroom single-storey buildings with private outdoor area.
Parking and all other associated facilities are included in the plans submitted for a site just 500 metres from the centre of the town and close to the Nagle Rice Primary School. The former presbytery is also located close by; this is a protected structure but is not part of this development.
The major development is for lands at Ballyoughtragh, Milltown, on a 1.79-hectare site, zoned for mixed/general use/community services under the Corca Dhuibhne Local Area Plan, according to the planning documents.
The planning documents state the development would provide a much-needed modernised service for those needing residential care in Milltown and the surrounding areas of Mid-Kerry. The design is in accordance with the existing site conditions, topography and ecology, and provides a location for residential services for the elderly for years to come.
A decision is due on August 25.
Cllr Michael O’Shea’s is the only submission currently published on the planning file. In his submission, he says he is “vehemently opposed to the development”, claiming that such lands should be used for educational purposes.
"This commercial development would have catastrophic consequences for the future of educational facilities in Milltown,” he said.
He said that Milltown is heading to be the third-largest town in the county, with a further increase in population on the way as 110 social houses are currently under construction, and planning has been given to 108 private dwellings.
"I am extremely concerned about this proposed development as I personally, and in my capacity as a local councillor for the last 30 years, fought off many proposed commercial planning applications on this site so that these lands can and should be reserved for the children of Milltown and the fulfilment of their educational requirements.”
He also said in his submission to Kerry County Council that commercial developments in Milltown are premature until the long-awaited master plan for the town is drawn up.