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Shopping centre 'to be turned into HSE facility'

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Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre

Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre

Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre

Plans are under way to transform a large area of one of the capital's biggest shopping centres into an HSE primary care medical facility.

Questions over the future of Dun Laoghaire Shopping Centre have been raised repeatedly for more than a decade.

Its decline during the last recession saw a number of high-profile traders close down, with many of the units in the building left empty.

A €10m refurbishment was granted planning permission in 2016.

Now a move away from retail is on the cards, at least for part of the building.

Coltard, the owner of the shopping centre, submitted a planning application last week to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council to change level three of the building from "vacant former retail" to "primary care centre" use.

This involves the reconfiguration of internal layouts of the third floor, which has a total area of 4,068 square metres.

Coltard indicated that modification of the space would allow for 1,830 square metres of HSE medical consulting and treatment rooms.

These would include dental, physiotherapy, mental health, and speech and language therapy consulting spaces.

There are also proposals for 1,433 square metres of "ancillary office" space and an 815 square metre general practitioner surgery facility, including medical consulting and treatments rooms.

The HSE said it has issued a letter of intent and is in the process of finalising an agreement with Coltard for the lease of the premises.

However, it refused to say what the cost of renting it will be to the taxpayer, on the grounds that it was "commercially sensitive".

Integrated

"The services to be provided include, but are not limited to, ophthalmology, public health and community nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, dietetics and counselling," it said.

"These services will be integrated with the proposed on-site general practitioner service and will provide an integrated service under one roof in the heart of Dun Laoghaire."

The planning application suggested the development would result in changes to the facades of the shopping centre of the third floor.

It also suggested minor changes to the layout of the basement-level car park to provide 52 new cycle parking spaces, as well as the reallocation of 70 car parking spaces for the use of the proposed development.