The proposed site of the new private hospital.

Verdict due on new Tullamore hospital plan

The fate of plans for a major private hospital in Tullamore is expected to be known next week.

John Flanagan Developments Ltd, will learn by February 4 next if their proposal for a 99-bed hospital, just off the bypass on its Wellwood site has got the green light or not.

It previously said, if successful, it expected some 200 people to employed in construction of the new facility which could start in the summer of 2023 and “be open by the end of 2024,” according to the lodged plans.

In July 2021, the company secured planning permission for a four-storey, 244-bed nursing home, 'step down' facility, rehabilitation and convalescence unit built on the same site, at Wellwood Health Park, Ardan/Puttaghan.

But last December, the Tullamore-based firm applied for planning permission for a change of use of this previously approved facility to a 99-bed private hospital on the 2.6 hectare parcel of land close to the Midlands Regional Hospital, Tullamore.

John Flanagan Developments Ltd originally planned a private hospital on this site back in 2007. Whilst work started on the structure of a building, the project did not proceed due to the global economic crash despite huge interest from leading medical operators from around Europe.

The company then sought permission for the nursing home project, which was designed to use the existing steel frame structure of the part-built planned private hospital project on the site, located just off the town’s N52 bypass.

“The proposal is identical in all respects to the nursing home proposed granted planning permission 18 months ago, with the exception that the new use proposed is a 99-bed hospital,” the developers stressed in the documents submitted in support of the project which is proposed to cover 12,500 square metres of space in a four-storey premises.

The company said the significant difference largely relates to the length of stay of residents compared to patients, with much of the accommodation and use of the buildings similar.

It added that it was demonstrated for the nursing home plan that the existing steel frame building can be reused, and the the developer added in the planning documents that the “same circumstances” exist now. The structure has not fallen into such disrepair as to be unusable, as confirmed in the Engineer's report submitted.

“The hospital facility will provide for elective procedures to address the significant waiting lists,” the company behind the plan argued in a report submitted to the local authority, adding that it would provide complementary healthcare and synergy with the existing hospital.

In addition to the 99 single bed rooms, accommodation would also include operating theatres, diagnostic rooms, scan rooms, endoscopy facilities, consultation rooms, rehab facilities and a lab.

There would also be stations, cubicles and a recovery area for 38 patients and other ancilliary accommodation.

Access would be provided from the existing roundabout, the plans indicated, with 220 car parking spaces provided in the plans.

“Tullamore Regional Hospital serves a population of 405,000 people spread across up to ten counties,” said Dominic Doheny, Joint Managing Director of John Flanagan Developments in December, when the hospital project was first revealed.

“If we are successful in our application, the hospital will be in a position to improve the lives and medical outcomes for the greater Midlands region of the country,” he maintained.

There was one submission in relation to the project from a group of residents in Harbour Drive. In the interest of the current housing amenity of Harbour Drive, it requires the developers to “construct a solid dashed and capped two metre boundary wall” to fully complete the boundary adjoining the development. It specifies where exactly that should be built to finish at the roadside.

The residents added that they also required “no access to the development of any kind from Harbour Drive”.

Offaly County Council is expected to announce a decision on the private hospital project by Saturday, February 4.