Months before decision on dialysis unit appeal
The decision by Wexford County Council to refuse planning permission for a kidney dialysis unit at Whitemill Industrial Estate has been appealed to An Bord Pleanala by the applicant Fresenius Medical Care (Ireland) Ltd.
The German-owned company which is one of the biggest providers of dialysis in the world, lodged an appeal last Tuesday against the controversial local authority ruling.
A decision is not expected until January next year, adding further delays to a project which was first identified as urgently needed in County Wexford ten years ago.
Fresenius which was awarded the dialysis unit contract by the HSE applied last February for a change of use at the former Acorn Fashions unit on the Industrial Estate in Clonard which is owned by the Nevins family.
Council planners turned down the application on the grounds that it is inappropriate for the location which is zoned industrial and could restrict the use of adjoining lands for manufacturing and other projects.
The local authority asked Fresenius to guarantee that the presence of a dialysis unit would be acceptable adjacent to manufacturing, civic recycling, refuse transfer and transport projects including a proposed waste recycling facility on existing Council lands beside the application site.
Fresenius and the HSE replied to requests for further information, saying a waste recycling plant had the potential to have a negative impact on a renal dialysis unit.
The Council decision to refuse planning permission was greeted with surprise and disappointment, as it was felt the issues should have been raised earlier in the planning process to avoid wasting time.
Commenting on the response from Fresenius and the HSE, , senior planner Diarmuid Houston said land at the front of the existing Council depot was intended to be used as a household waste recycling centre for Wexford town as the only civic site in the district is located in Holmestown.
Mr. Houston said he was concerned that the development of a health care facility would undermine the potential use of the large vacant site formerly occupied by Sola Lenses.
He said there are many other suitable locations for the dialysis unit throughout the town, some of which would not require planning permission, such as a vacant health care centre 500 metres away in Clonard Park.
'The developpment would result in the loss of industrial floor space and would have a sterilisation effect on the adjoining industrial lands and would undermine the use of the land for industry/manufacturing and the development of a waste recycling centre,' he said.
Fresenius which expressed disappointment at the decision confirmed this week that it has appealed the Council ruling.