Medical centre permit partly overturned


KillarneyAn Bord Pleanála has refused, in part, permission for the retention of a medical centre in Killarney after an appeal by the town’s pharmacists.

The multistorey Reeks Gateway building was built for office and commercial use during the boom. However, its conversion to a medical centre has been dogged by controversy.

Two years ago, most of the town’s GPs relocated to the centre, built by Sunday’s Well Properties Ltd. Situated about 1.5km from the town, the centre houses 15 GPs and dozens of ancillary medical staff over three floors, plus a pharmacy.

A bitter row developed between the GPs and Killarney’s pharmacists over the doctors’ relocation to one centre and the opening of a pharmacy there.

In December, five pharmacists appealed the town council’s granting of permission to use the building for medical purposes.

An Bord Pleanála has now granted permission for a change of use from commercial to medical centre “on first floor only”, and for the medical centre, pharmacy and cafe on the ground floor. However it refused permission for medical use on the second floor, where some of the GPs’ practices are located.

It said allowing the complete change of use would have a negative impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre and it was important “to protect the economic viability of the existing town centre”.