PLANS to increase the density of a controversial student apartment development have been described as a “kick in the teeth” for local residents.
Developers Lyonshall has lodged a Strategic Housing Development (SHD) consultation application for 550 bed-spaces in 81 apartments, a significant increase on planning permission already granted at the site of the former O’Riordan’s Joinery on the Bandon Road.
The company was previously granted planning permission, despite local objections, for 49 student apartments consisting of 350-bed spaces in August 2018 and was subsequently granted permission to increase this to 419 spaces in 57 apartments in January of this year.
However, the company has now acquired 74 Bandon Road and numbers 1 and 2 Ardnacarrig which enlarge the site area to provide more frontage to Bandon Road.
Lyonshall said the increased development site provides the opportunity for the proposed development to make a greater and more positive contribution to the area providing for a new streetscape to Bandon Road.
They have now lodged an application for consultation with An Bord Pleanála for an extra 100 bed-spaces.
The SHD process allows developers to bypass local authority planning for housing projects above 100 homes in order to fast-track delivery.
The apartments are located near the junction of Glasheen Road and Bandon Road on a portion of land attached to the Church of Immaculate Conception and would be partially visible from the nearby Lough amenity walk.
Local councillor Mick Finn said this application adds “insult to injury” for residents that were opposed to the original and later increased developments.
“The farce of the [SHD] process has removed the rights of local residents to preserve their own areas with local council expertise and knowledge also written out of the equation.
“The board and its Dublin-based officials have no clue about the impact of these monstrosities on neighbourhoods...it's all about numbers and in my opinion, the process is not at all transparent.
“In this instance at the Lough, extra units adds insult to injury really for residents...it is a kick in teeth to those who are fearful of the disintegration of their community. We do need student accommodation but homes for families are, if not more, as pressing. Common sense has gone out the window,” Mr Finn added.
There are local concerns about the density of the project, the increase in population as a result and the height of the apartment block which is expected to be four storeys.
The last density increase was the subject of submissions from the residents of Lough Villas, the Glasheen Road Residents Association, the Magazine Road and Surrounding Areas Residents Association and several individuals.