UCC, which acquired the assembled Victoria Cross site from a private developer last year, has just now been allowed to submit the multimillion-euro project directly to An Bord Pleanála, after the board ruled it qualified for rapid planning consideration under new strategic housing development (SHD) terms.
SHD regulations were introduced in June as part of the Rebuilding Ireland Government initiative, and projects of 100-plus houses, or 200-plus student apartments are eligible, with a ruling timeline for the board to consider all aspects, including objections, set at 25 weeks.
Just west of the main UCC campus, at the start of the Carrigrohane ‘Straight’ road, it may join the 16-storey Cork County Hall at the city’s western suburban extremity by the Lee Fields.
It also joins a number of other purpose-built student accommodation blocks bought by UCC in recent years, including the Victoria Mills complex, which rises up to nine storeys in height in one section and accommodates 300 students.
UCC is now set to go direct to An Bord Pleanála in the next few weeks for what it bills as “a key gateway location in Cork”, running westwards from Victoria Cross. If approved by An Bord Pleanála, delivery will entail the demolition of the burned out bar, and an adjoining terrace of houses acquired as a site assembly a decade ago by Fleming Construction. It was later sold to a consortium, which flipped it on to UCC in 2016.
Heading the design team is McCullough Mulvin Architects, and the university says “the proposed building will rejuvenate this important site, which has been derelict in recent years”. The college has made close-to-campus student accommodation a priority in its Strategic Plan 2017-2020 and adds “this proposal seeks to address some of this demand in a high quality, purpose-built facility”. It will be managed by the UCC’s student accommodation subsidiary. Proposed are 255 student bed-spaces, ancillary student facilities, a health and wellness centre, a public café onto Victoria Cross as well as bicycle spaces, ancillary site and landscaping works.