University College Dublin (UCD) and University College Cork (UCC) are among applications made directly to An Bórd Pleanála in a new fast-track planning system, as reported by The Irish Times. Three fast-track planning applications for student accommodation are currently active in Dublin and Cork.
The new system offers developers the ability to bypass the local-authority processes for developments of over 100 homes or blocks of 200 student bed spaces.
The application includes a pre-application consultation with the planning authority, followed by a period of public consultation. It is hoped this new scheme will reduce waiting time for large-scale developments.
Cairn Homes has submitted an application for 576 bed spaces and 103 student apartments in Stillorgan, Co Dublin. The development would also feature a community sports hall and retail space.
The first development to be approved is a €300 million on-campus accommodation complex at UCD. An Bord Pleanála granted permission for six multi-storey blocks. The new buildings, which will range from five to ten storeys in height, will provide 2,178 bed spaces.
As UCD’s largest student accommodation scheme so far, on-campus bed spaces will be increased from 3,179 to a projected 5,357. UCD received permission from An Bord Pleanála for the development in just over three months.
A UCD spokeswoman said the college was “very pleased” by the decision and that seeking tenders to commence construction would begin shortly. UCC is in the process of commencing an application for a 255-bed development at Victoria Cross in Co Cork.
If successful, the accommodation will be comprised of four linked blocks and occupy a site which has been derelict for several years. The UCC development was ruled as qualifying for the fast-track application in late 2017.
An Bord Pleanála announced it has processed 36 pre-application requests in accordance with the new system in recent weeks, 27 of which have been concluded. It is expected that the board will announce decisions on more fast-track applications over the next three months.
Trinity currently offers accommodation to its students in two main localities: Trinity Hall in Dartry and College campus. In an effort to secure accommodation for students, College has a number of lease agreements with private developments including Binary Hub, a 500 bed complex on Gardiner Street. This year, Trinity advertised student accommodation in Kavanagh Court, with undergraduate rent costing €9000 per year.