PLANS for 250 student beds at the site of the former Crow’s Nest bar have been given the green light by An Bord Pleanála in a landmark decision.
The project was submitted under the new strategic housing development scheme (SHD), a new regulation introduced last June which allows projects of a certain size to bypass local authority planning applications in a bid to cut down on the time it takes to make a decision.
The Crow’s Nest scheme is the first in Cork to be approved under the mechanism.
Just minutes from the UCC campus, the development was proposed by the college itself, which aims to provide accommodation to its significantly expanding student body amid housing shortages elsewhere in the city.
It will join a number of other student complexes in the Victoria Cross area, including Victoria Mills, while a series of other projects are also proposed nearby.
Several developments are in various stages of planning along the Western Road, including one immediately next to UCC’s front gates which is nearing completion, while other projects have been proposed for the Carrigrohane Road, just west of the Crow’s Nest site.
The approval draws a line under the long history of the Crow’s Nest, which was snapped up by the college for around €2.5 million in 2016.
The development has been welcomed by Cork City Council, who say it will solve an urgent need in both the private rental market and the student accommodation sector.
Pat Ledwidge, deputy chief executive at Cork City Council said: “It’s a significant boost for the volume of student accommodation in the city, something which is badly needed.
“These are the exact type of developments we want to see: managed student accommodation and it is ideal for the student body who want to live in this type of accommodation too.
“Ideally, this should also free up a significant amount of accommodation in the private sector, too, moving students out of homes that are traditionally occupied by long-term renters and giving a boost to that sector, too.”
Mr Ledwidge said he expects to see a significant increase in the number of SHD applications in the coming years as the upturn in the market increases.