QUESTIONS have been raised about the viabilty of some of the proposed large-scale student accommodation developments in the city
The Green Party’s Dan Boyle said there are “huge question marks” over some of the future developments in terms of acceptability and suitability.
“I have a question mark about the scale of development that is going on.
"I think there is a kind of saturation of student accommodation being built at the expense of residential accommodation,” he said.
Councillor Boyle said that as Cork city moves towards the new City Development Plan the scale of student accommodation must be revisited, “not only in terms of the number of units being developed, but I think we have to get that balance between residential and other types of development in the city.”
Mr Boyle has also questioned whether developers have taken Covid-19 into consideration.
“I think we need to ask ourselves whether the economics and the post-Covid situation is being addressed by so many developments of one particular type being advanced at one time and our Development Plan needs to reflect that a bit better.”
He said while some student accommodation is, without doubt, needed, he questioned how many international students will be attending UCC or CIT in the near future due to the global pandemic.
He added that many people who attend college in Cork live in the area also, but said uncertainty surrounding the teaching model must also be considered, with a potentially lasting move toward remote learning.
“Universities, at least in the short term, will be more and more moving to an online model of education.
"The idea of living in one place for five days a week, nine months a year, is that sustainable in the near future?
“I’m not sure those questions are being answered by developers.”
His comments followed a briefing from City Hall’s planning department to Cork City South Central Councillors on the student development at the former Square Deal premises on Washington Street.
IRE Real Estate Investment Partners Fund II have proposed a 280 bed development in 50 units, which includes ten one-bed studios, two two-bed studios, two four-bed apartments, four five-apartments, four six-bed apartments, ten seven- bed apartments and 18 eight-bed apartments.
“Of all the proposed student developments in the city at the moment, this is the one that’s most acceptable and most suitable,” Councillor Boyle said.