Portlaoise Rugby Club recently unveiled a major plan which could see their grounds located in Togher, Portlaoise, developed into a multi-purpose sports facility to also cater for other sports such as, basketball, hockey, tennis and athletics.

The club is on an almost 20-acre site and they have launched a consultation process with a vision to develop their grounds into a top-class sports facility founded on sustainable and low-carbon principles.

The consultation document can be viewed in full here and all stakeholders, including members of the club, the community in Laois and extended environs are free to submit their views on this plan.

Philip Bradley, President of Portlaoise Rugby Club said he was delighted with the launch of this consultation plan as the potential in Portlaoise Rugby Club was enormous.

“As a rugby club we have prioritised rugby pitches in our proposals but there is scope to also accommodate other sports within our grounds,” Bradley said.

“Perhaps there are other sporting organisations in the midlands that do not have a secure or permanent place to call home and any future development of the Togher playing grounds may offer opportunities to form key partnerships.  The potential at Portlaoise Rugby Club has always been huge, but never more so than now with so much development around Laois and in particular around Togher including the new Portlaoise Plaza and the development of factories in and around Togher.

“Our rugby club has grown from strength to strength and we pride ourselves in having one of the finest grounds in the country with five playing pitches.  I sincerely thank Laois Leader for funding this project and also sincere thanks to our secretary Trevor Flanagan and club member Johnny Fingleton for bringing this project to this consultation stage. We now invite all members of the public to view the plan and to give as much feedback as they wish.”

There are two suggestions presented in the consultation document – one that would see a development alongside the existing buildings that include a clubhouse, bar and dressing rooms or the other that would see the club replace the existing club buildings.

Any development will require funding from the various sports governing bodies as well as government support.

A key part of the Portlaoise plan is the intention to ‘go green’, with a high proportion of the project dedicated to environmentally friendly initiatives.

Among the proposals are the development of hedgerows and trees to provide shelter for playing pitches, LED lighting, energy supply from solar panels, electric vehicle charging points, bicycle parking and pollinator-friendly flowerbeds.

Portlaoise received grant aid from Laois Leader and subsequently engaged Green Pine Consulting in Laois in partnership with engineering company ‘RPS’ to complete the consultation plan with Brian Gaynor from Green Pine who was appointed project manager.

The club grounds will soon be on the edge of the urban area of the town with the development of the Togher area for industrial use and the new motorway service station.  This brings with it opportunities to forge stronger links with the town in terms of access, proximity to new businesses and residents, connections to built infrastructure and new types of biodiversity habitat.

New access links in the form of paths and greenways being developed as part of the Togher development offer the chance to make safer pedestrian and cycle links. This could include tying into the existing Slí na Sláinte network of walking trails by creating a new route that serves the southern part of the town.

The consultation document can be viewed in full by clicking here.