University Hospital Limerick plans for 60-bed unit stalled by objection

Fintan Walsh and Jess Casey

Reporter:

Fintan Walsh and Jess Casey

UHL plans for 60-bed unit stalled by objection

UHL plans for 60-bed unit stalled by objection

VITAL plans for a 60-bed block at the University Hospital Limerick, needed to tackle chronic overcrowding, could be delayed due to a local resident’s concerns over trees and landscaping, among other issues.

A Dooradoyle resident has lodged an appeal to An Bord Pleanala (ABP), requesting that developers plant a line of trees at least five metres high to the rear of the Woodlawn Drive estate, which runs along the West of the proposed development. 

The resident has also requested that a fence or a hedge be installed to the rear of the estate along with the trees, similarly to what has been shown in architects drawings submitted by the developer.  

“In my view it is inappropriate for the Developer to seek planning permission for a building and car parks of this scale without a landscaping plan that would help alleviate the negative effects on the residential amenity,” the resident stated in their objection. 

In the objection, the resident also states there has been “a massive intensification of use of the facility in the middle of a residential district”, with 11 major projects carried out on the hospital in the last eight years. 

“In my view the Applicant should submit a masterplan to enable the assessment of how this multi-storey building and car park that is the subject of this application fits in with proposed and past developments for the entire site.” 

“Finally, may I note that the decision to grant permission was taken with undue haste, seven weeks in total, by the planner in Limerick City and County Council,” the objection states. 

INMO spokesperson Mary Fogarty said a report from 2007, before the reconfiguration of the Mid-West hospitals, found that 130 additional beds were needed at University Hospital Limerick. 

“They don't have them,” Ms Fogarty said. “That wouldn't even be enough now. They would need 200 to 300 more beds, and when are we going to see that?"

Mayor James Collins said he believes residents objected because there are issues in the surrounding neighborhood “about how the hospital is run”. 

“It's a very tight space in a residential area and one local resident is unhappy with developments to date and the next proposed development, and it's going to make it more difficult."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the UL Hospitals Group said: “The additional 60 beds would directly increase capacity allowing patients access to an increased overall bed stock and improve patient flow across the hospital.” 

“We are hopeful the appeal will be resolved to all parties satisfaction and that it will not impact on the delivery of the project.

“With these additional single rooms, the initiative would help to improve patient comfort, safety, privacy and dignity and assist with the management of infection control in the hospital.”