Planning delay to UCC student housing

By Niall Murray Education Correspondent

A planning decision on a student accommodation project near University College Cork has been delayed as a number of details have to be clarified by the applicant.

Cork City Council has asked Kevin Lynch for more information about the application to build a five-storey block containing around 120-bed spaces in 19 apartments. He submitted the plans in February for a site near Dennehy’s Cross at Victoria Cross Rd, previously in use by a tyre company that moved to a nearby location.

The application was revised last month in response to a request for further information from planners in April.

The council’s decision should have been known this week but, instead, it has asked for a number of issues to be clarified or revised.

They include details around access to a planned river walkway and the council’s view that space to accommodate a 24-hour physical staffing presence is needed in the scheme.

The further information submitted in July included an initial student accommodation management plant but said that would be revised by an operator to be selected by the developer before any construction begins.

The site is a 10-minute walk from UCC and across the road from a number of existing student accommodation developments.

Permission was granted last month for a scheme about 500m away, with beds for 145 students.

An Bord Pleanála initially upheld the decision of Cork City Council to approve the accommodation in two three-storey blocks at the site of a disused warehouse on Farranlea Rd, which is also relatively close to Cork Institute of Technology’s main campus in Bishopstown.

Under changes to planning policy adopted last month by the city council, purpose-built student accommodation

(PBSA)

developments should only be permitted in areas convenient to colleges or on public transport routes connected to third-level campuses.

Planning approval must now also include a condition that a comprehensive plan is in place to show the accommodation will be professionally managed and operated year-round.

While the scope for tourism lettings out of term is allowed, permission will not be given for the use of such developments for permanent residential accommodation or as hotels, hostels, or similar uses.

The city’s full-time student population has grown by over a quarter to over 25,000 in a decade, prompting a booming investor interest in purpose-built student accommodation schemes.

Permission has been granted for more than 2,000 bed spaces in purpose-built projects in over a handful of schemes in recent years.

One of the largest is a 413-bed development under construction by BAM Property on part of the city centre former Beamish & Crawford brewery site.

The city council refused permission in June for 40 extra bed spaces in that development through the proposed addition of an extra floor and other changes.

A decision is still awaited from An Bord Pleanála in relation to appeals on permission given by the council in December for a student apartment development near UCC.

The Bandon Rd site, a short walk from the university, also incorporates part of the grounds of a Catholic church and would be visible from the nearby Lough amenity walk and park.


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