Green light for major student apartment complex on landmark Cork city site

Green light for major student apartment complex on landmark Cork city site

Artist impression of the Square Deal / Washington Street development. Supplied by Digital Dimensions.

An Bórd Pleanála has approved plans for a 280-bed student apartment complex in Cork city with a raft of conditions including one to protect an important view of the city’s landmark St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

The board, which considered the proposal for the former Square Deal site on the city’s Washington St under the strategic housing development (SHD) process, approved the plan lodged by IRE Real Estate Investment Partners Fund II after its inspector said the proposed development is “acceptable in principle on this under-utilised city centre site and contributes to an established need for student accommodation in this city”.

“The design and layout is satisfactory and brings a protected structure back into active use,” the inspector said.

The inspector warned about the increased height of structures on the site intruding upon a protected view toward St Fin Barre’s Cathedral and said conditions would be required to address this impact.

The inspector also said that the development was considered acceptable in terms of access, transportation and its measures to address the risk of flooding in the area.

The investment fund was granted planning in February 2018 for a 242-bedspace development on the site but it engaged in a pre-application consultation meeting with An Bord Pleanála last April about proposed modifications to that grant of planning as it sought to increase the student bedspaces from 242 to 292.

But the Bórd has approved 280 bedspaces, and attached conditions including the omission of specified apartments and associated facilities along Woods Street, and a reduction in the height of the structure in this area to protect a view of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral.

Other conditions will restrict access to the development’s proposed roof terraces between 10pm and 8am, will prevent additional development above roof parapet level, including lift motor enclosures, air handling equipment and storage tanks, telecommunication aerials, antennas or equipment, unless authorised by a further grant of planning permission.

Another condition states that elements of existing cast iron Merrick columns and examples of the factory saw-tooth roof lights within the existing structures on the development site shall be incorporated into the student complex development.

Demolition of buildings on the site has already taken place.

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