A CONTROVERSIAL student apartment complex overlooking The Lough has been granted planning permission following a redesign to protect views of the city's northside.
Lyonshall Developments had proposed to construct 49 student apartments with some 350 beds on the Bandon Road, prompting a huge outcry from locals leading to protest meetings, marches and numerous planning objections.
The development is proposed for the O’Riordan’s Joinery site on Bandon Road and includes a portion of land previously owned by the Church of the Immaculate Conception at the Lough.
Some 200 parishioners took part in a march around the Lough in protest of the development in May, claiming the student development would have a detrimental impact on the area.
In June, City Hall planners sought changes to the plans saying they had significant concerns about the impact the development would have on the views of the city's northern ridge and, in particular, the view of the Church of the Ascension in Gurranabraher.
The council wanted to see a reduction in the building's height and to break up their massing to create a less monolithic appearance.
In response, Lyonshall said the level of extra analysis being asked by the council was disproportionate given that the Church of The Ascension in Gurranabraher is only visible on an 85-metre stretch of The Lough walkway and that it is not a protected view. The applicants also said they did not consider the church to be of significant merit.
However, they submitted a significant redesign to allow views of the city's north ridge and the church of the Ascension.
This involved combining blocks 4 and 5 into a single block creating a gap through the development, reducing the overall number of beds from 350 to 324.
Following the changes, planners in City Hall this week granted planning permission for the development imposing 37 conditions.
City Councillor Mick Finn said he was disgusted by the decision and said it would be appealed to An Bord Pleanála.
"Both proposals for student accommodation (another one on Dorgan’s Road) granted permission against express wishes of locals and councillors," he said.
"Another one planned for Crow’s Nest site, Square Deal and next to River Lee Hotel and work ongoing on Beamish Site. The question I ask is; do planners and city management actually want to destroy residential areas?"