Planning notes: Go-ahead for further student digs

More additions to student accommodation provision in Cork are to be made after permission has been granted for a development with over 200 bed spaces near the city centre.

The application for the old Square Deal furniture premises at Washington Street West, a few hundred metres from the main University College Cork campus, was submitted to planners last April.

Following concerns about the scale and impact, and a council request for at least one of the six proposed storeys to be removed, changes that included a reduced-area top floor were made by the applicants Summix WSC Developments Ltd. 

These contributed to a reduction in bed spaces from the 242 originally planned to 228 in a further information response to Cork City Council in January, with more than half of these to be provided in clusters of four and five-bedrooms.

In its grant of permission, the council has required that three out of around 60 units be omitted to allow part of the upper floor of the Woods Street elevation to be set back.

The development would wrap around to Lynch’s Street to the rear, where the company also amended its plans to include a ground floor entrance. That was done to address council concerns about an absence of active frontage in the initial application that might have contributed to anti-social behaviour.

The two-storey and three-storey original 19th-century red-brick frontage to Washington Street West will be retained in the plans.

A related firm, Summix FRC Developments recently got permission for another student accommodation development at Farranlea Park near Dennehy’s Cross, but that project is under appeal.

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Cork City Council gave the green light last week to the expansion and refurbishment of the Metropole Hotel on MacCurtain Street and St Patrick’s Quay.

The plans also involve the construction of a new ‘M Hotel’ on the quay-fronting site of the former PJ O’Hea garage, which is to be demolished. After removing one of the planned seven storeys in its response to a council request for further information, applicant Trigon Hotels Ltd has been required to remove another floor in the grant of permission.

This may reduce further the number of rooms from the 195 that were planned to be provided in the six storeys proposed in the further information supplied to planners earlier this year. One of two high-level walkways across Harley Street that was proposed to join the new hotel to the existing Metropole building is also required to be removed from the plans.

The buildings to the rear of the existing facilities, nearest St Patrick’s Quay, are to be knocked and the leisure centre there is to be replaced by a seven-storey 140-bedroom extension over four café/retail units facing the River Lee’s north channel. The main hotel frontage to MacCurtain Street is in line to be moved eastward and the old Edwardian shopfront configuration will be restored.

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Restrictions to opening hours in an extended Dunnes Stores outlet in the Cork suburb of Bishopstown have been removed by An Bord Pleanála.

The supermarket chain appealed a number of the conditions attached by Cork City Council when it granted permission last September to the planned demolition of a number of smaller shops at the Bishopstown Shopping Centre, to facilitate the extension by Dunnes. One of those conditions was a limit on opening hours to no later than 10pm, and up to 8pm on Sundays, but the appeals board has directed that this be withdrawn.

The plans now approved are for an extended supermarket with a net floor area of 1,500 square metres and a retail café or restaurant in an adjoining unit at the shopping centre. Part of the existing supermarket was also proposed to be demolished in the application lodged 11 months ago.

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BAM Property Ltd has told planners it will significantly increase the provision of space for cultural use in revisions it wants to make to part of the former Beamish & Crawford brewery site in Cork city.

The company applied for permission in November for major changes within the middle zone of the Brewery Quarter site which is also to include an events centre and student accommodation. The plans for the centre part of the site relate to building behind the façade of the old Counting House office block, where BAM is seeking to replace planned cinema and educational uses to offices.

Arising from that proposal, Cork City Council expressed strong reservation about the planned significant reduction in space that would be designated for cultural or interpretive space that had scope to be used as a tourist attraction showcasing the archaeology and history of the site and surrounding area. In its response, BAM has said it would increase by 455sq m the total area for cultural use on the ground floor.

The resultant 732sq m for such use could be allocated for various purposes, the company said, but it is proposing that it might facilitate exhibitions of archaeological finds or detailing the historic uses of the site.A final decision from the council is now expected within a fortnight, unless it requires more detail or clarification to be provided.

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Final permission has been granted to the planned construction of an infill housing development on the ground of a former northside hotel in Cork city. Grangefield Developments Ltd appealed one of the conditions after the city council gave its approval for the works next to the Arbutus Lodge in January. 

But that appeal, which related to the width of a footpath the council said should be provided to the Middle Glanmire Road, has now been withdrawn.

One of the 17 townhouses that had been proposed in the application last April was required to be omitted, the council said in another of the conditions two months ago.

The development is to be accessed by a new entrance east of the Arbutus Lodge.


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