Developers plan 10,000 homes, apartments and student beds

Plans for over 10,000 homes, apartments, and student bed spaces have been put before An Bord Pleanála by developers seeking to take advantage of new fast-track planning rules in a four- month period.

One of the proposals concerns UCD planning over 3,000 student bed spaces at the college — almost double the number currently provided at the campus.

The new planning rules were introduced in July by the Government in a bid to address the crisis in the housing and in the student accommodation sectors.

Now, instead of applications having to go through council level and then on to An Bord Pleanála where there is an appeal, in a process that can sometimes take over one year and more, developers can now by-pass local authorities if their plans are for more than 100 homes and 200 student bed spaces.

The new rules dictate that the applications be made direct to An Bord Pleanála and the appeals board must decide on such planning applications within a mandatory 16-week period.

This follows the applications going through a pre-application process. Now, in new figures provided by the appeals board, it confirms it has received 22 separate pre-application requests concerning 10,926 housing, apartment and student accommodation between July and October.

The statistics show that pre-application consultations concerning 3,559 houses have been made along with 2,289 apartments.

In addition, pre-application requests have been made in relation to 4,978 student bed spaces.

The board has established a strategic housing unit to deal with the large-scale applications and it confirms that three applications have been lodged with An Bord Pleanála — two in Dublin and one in Galway.

The largest application is by UCD for 3,006 bed spaces at the UCD campus while Viscount Securities has lodged plans for 927 units — made up of 365 homes and 562 apartments — at Clay Farm, Ballyogan, Dublin 18.

Some 93 units of the Clay Farm development will go towards social and affordable housing in order to comply with requirements under Part V of the 2000 Planning and Development Act.

A comparatively more modest housing development is proposed for Truskey, Bearna, outside Galway City, for 113 homes by Burkeway Homes Ltd.

Each application has its own dedicated website that can be accessed via the An Bord Pleanála website and all documents can be accessed concerning the plans.

Currently, UCD currently has a student residential accommodation portfolio which extends to approximately 3,179 bedspaces on the campus.

The proposed development will increase student residential accommodation by 3,006 bed spaces in a new residential village connected to and integrated with the existing residential villages.

UCD is seeking a 10-year planning permission and the proposed accommodation will be arranged in a series of seven residential blocks, which will vary in height from five to 10 storeys.

The plan includes a student facility centre that comprises of an auditorium, dining hall, social space and contact centre.

The spending from the new student community is likely to be in the region of €2.4m per annum to the local economy, Decisions on all three applications are due to be made in January.

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