Permission granted for kidney dialysis unit at Sinnottstown Lane

By Maria pepper

An artist's impression of B Braun Avitum's proposed kidney dialysis unit at Sinnottstown Lane.
An artist's impression of B Braun Avitum's proposed kidney dialysis unit at Sinnottstown Lane.

WExford County Council has granted planning permission to B Braun Avitum Ltd to build a kidney dialysis unit on a greenfield site at Sinnottstown Lane on the outskirts of Wexford town, a project which will be activated if another company Fresenius Medical Care Ltd loses its appeal against local authority refusal for the project at Whitemill Industrial Estate.

B Braun's application is supported by the HSE as part of a contingency plan to provide a much-needed renal unit if Fresenius fails in its appeal to An Bord Pleanala against the controverial local authority decision last August to reject planning permission on the grounds that the unit would interfere with the future use of adjoining sites in the area.

B Braun has been given the green light to build a 757 sq.m. single-storey dialysis unit in a contemporary design with a detached storage building of 53 sq.m. fronting onto an existing internal access road set back from Sinnottstown Lane and adjacent to Drinagh Retail Park.

The unit will have 14 treatment bays catering for 35 to 40 patients cared for by eight medical staff. The plan includes 19 car parking spaces to the front and side of the building and an ambulance drop-off area.

Senior planner Diarmuid Houston said a renal dialysis unit would be acceptable at this location and would not negatively impact on existing uses within the area which is zoned for bulky goods retailing.

'The proposed development would not seriously injure the amenity of the area and would therefore be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,' he concluded in his report.

B Braun Avitum is a leading provider of renal care with more than 350 centres in over 30 countries around the world, including the UK.

The company which was a runner-up in the original tender process for the unit has worked with the HSE for over 10 years and runs the Wellstone Dialysis clinic in Galway. It has plans to establish further renal facilities in Ireland.

B Braun said there will be additional employment opportunities in Drinagh in waste management contracts, cleaning, patient support serivces and transport contracts through the HSE. Clinical waste will be collected weekly by a specialist contractor and domestic waste collected by a licensed private company.

In its application to the Council, B Braun Avitum said it tendered to the HSE for the unit and put forward the proposed site which was approved by the health authority. It described the Drinagh site as 'the most appropriate location in Wexford' with 'unparalleled accessibility'.

B Braun pointed out that the site in question is located on the inside edge of the N25, on one of the main access routes into Wexford, providing immediate access via the ring road and located away from the traffic congestion of Wexford town centre.

Patients typically visit a renal dialysis unit three times a week and ease of access to the facility is essential.

The company said the nature of the surrounding uses in Sinnottstown Lane would not give rise to any interference with the proposed dialysis unit and was approved by the HSE on this basis.

Wexford County Council notified the HSE of the application and the health authority made a submission outlining a number of recommendations on the type of facilities to be provided.There were no public objections to the development.

The landowners Ardcavan Developments consented to B Braun Avitum applying for planning permission on the site.

In early December, the HSE revealed that it was progressing a second tender for a unit in Wexford while Fresenius which won the contract, was awaiting the outcome of its planning appeal which is due to be decided by An Bord Pleanála on or before January 11.

The back-up plan will be cancelled if Fresenius wins its appeal against refusal for a change of use at the former Acorn Fashions factory on Whitemill Industrial Estate.

The HSE said the second plan was designed to 'expedite a dialysis solution bearing in mind the current difficulties'.

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