Locals in areas around UCC concerned about influx of 2,500 students

Locals in areas around UCC concerned about influx of 2,500 students

There are a number of major student apartment developments around UCC including plans for Magazine Road, the Lough, Western Road, the former Square Deal site on Washington Street, and the site of the former Crow’s Nest bar, in Victoria Cross. Picture: Tom Coakley Photography. 

RESIDENTS of Magazine Road are calling on Cork City Council to develop a strategy for student accommodation in the areas around UCC.

They say the huge influx of students to the area in the coming years will change the dynamic and demographic.

Former Lord Mayor of Cork, Catherine Clancy, has urged Cork City Council to listen to residential concerns and implement a development strategy.

There are a number of major student apartment developments around UCC, including plans for Magazine Road, the Lough, Western Road, the former Square Deal site on Washington Street, and the site of the former Crow’s Nest bar, in Victoria Cross.

These will add 2,500 students to the wider area, Ms Clancy said, and will change the dynamic of the community.

Similar concerns have been raised by Fine Gael councillor, John Buttimer, in recent months. Mr Buttimer has urged City Hall to develop a student accommodation strategy and has encouraged the local authority to meet with UCC and CIT to formulate a city-wide policy on new developments.

Ms Clancy said that Magazine Road, and its surrounding residential areas, will have more student accommodation developments than any other part of the city in the coming years and that a dedicated Local Area Plan is urgently needed.

“We live in an area of architectural conservation, under the City Development Plan,” Ms Clancy said.

“There is a significantly changing demographic in this area. There is up to 2,500 new occupants coming in over the next few years, with these student apartments in an area from the Western Road to UCC to Magazine Road, Crow’s Nest and the Lough.

“As it stands, there is no strategy, no plan, and no policy for how these developments will impact the existing community. The developments are taken on an ad hoc basis, a developer-led approach, rather than a city-led approach.”

Ms Clancy said that these major new developments should include amenity and public space enhancement, such as green areas and public realm upgrades, which have been neglected in the area.

She said that there are fears locally about the impact of parking and additional traffic, too, as many of the new developments are low on parking spaces and residents will not be able to apply for residential parking permits.

There have also been calls to develop plans for Wilton and Bishopstown, with Magazine Road residents saying that they should be included in these plans ‘as a minimum’ solution to the issues raised.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that plans to build 220 student beds at the former Square Deal site, on Lancaster Quay, would be delayed, following an appeal to An Bord Pleanála.

228 beds are proposed to be built on the Western Road site, just minutes from UCC’s main gates and the city centre.

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