UCC students face delay in planned student accommodation

The development would provide 120 beds to Cork students

A planning decision on a 120-bed student accommodation project near University College Cork (UCC) is facing a delay.

The decision on the project was expected to be given this week. The delay has occurred due to Cork City Council requiring clarification from the applicant, Kevin Lynch, on aspects of the development.

Cork City Council has asked the developers to submit further details regarding access to a planned river walkway and the council’s view that space to allow for a 24-hour physical staffing presence should be included in the plan.

The site on Victoria Cross Road is a 10-minute walk from UCC and located across the road from existing student accommodation developments. It was purchased by the university last year, who have stated that close-to-campus student accommodation is part of their strategic plan for 2017-2020. Last month, permission was granted for a development including 145 student beds just 500 metres away.

The application for the accommodation, which was originally submitted in February, was revised earlier in the summer after requests by Cork City Council for further information from the planners.

Over the last decade, Cork City’s full-time student population has grown to over 25,000, marking an increase of more than 25%. This has prompted investor interest in purpose-built student accommodation schemes in the area.
Several purpose-built projects have been granted permission over the last few years, adding over 2,000 student beds to the city’s accommodation supply. Despite the increase, last year saw a deficit of 1,698 beds as supply for student accommodation failed to meet demand.

As a result of recent changes to planning policy by Cork City Council, purpose-built student accommodation developments may only be built in areas convenient to third-level campuses or well-connected to them by public transport. The policy updates also require that a plan must be in place to show professional year-round management and operation of the accommodation property.

Last month, Fine Gael Cllr John Buttimer called on UCC and Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) to “step up to the plate” in working with the City Council on student accommodation developments.

Buttimer stated: “They are creating the demand for student accommodation. They must now take on responsibility for students on and off campus. They have shared resources, in terms of land and money, and must do more in this area.”

A lack of affordable housing supply in Dublin recently prompted a review of Dublin City Council’s housing strategy. A report from Dublin City Council outlined that the supply of affordable housing in the capital was “inadequate and imbalanced”.

Trinity students are currently protesting evictions in Dublin at a housing occupation in Summerhill. The occupation has been ongoing since Tuesday evening, when members from housing activist groups, including Take Back Trinity, marched to the vacant house after a demonstration on O’Connell Street.