STUDENT developments are suffocating residential areas of the city and choking the life out of once-vibrant parishes and communities, it has been claimed.
Residents of The Lough parish have said they are incensed over plans to erect a four storey student apartment block in the area.
The Bandon Road development, which has been proposed by developers Lyonshall, would see an influx of 350 students into the largely mature residential areas.
Independent Councillor Mick Finn has voiced concerns about the project following a highly-charged meeting of residents in recent days.
“Student accommodation is suffocating traditional residential areas of the city and it’s choking the life out of parishes and communities and people are moving out because they’re being forced out by more and more students living in the area,” said Cllr Finn.
“I’m not anti-student at all, I was a student myself, but I think student-specific areas are required for student-specific accommodation. A mature residential area is not the appropriate place.” These concerns were shared by more than 70 local residents who made their voices heard at a recent meeting about the issue.
A number of local residents expressed serious concern about the fact that though the plans outline 350 bed spaces, there are only 22 car parking spaces proposed.
“Most students have cars nowadays, but we’ll say for arguments sake only a third of them have cars. That’s still more than 100 vehicles and only 22 parking spaces. Where on Bandon Road are those 100 or so cars going to go?” asked one resident.
Others worried about an increase in anti-social behaviour should hundreds more students move in.
“The place is fast becoming student land. The Lough we know and love will be gone if we don’t stop this. It will be a death knell for the parish,” said one man.
Donal Whooley, a former principal of Greenmount National School, said the area needs an influx of families, not students, and would like to see the area used for social housing instead.
“We need more families in the area – new families to regenerate the parish because it’s dying out,” agreed Cllr Finn.
“People wonder why towns like Carrigaline and Ballincollig are doing so well, and it’s because people are moving out of these areas in the city and out to places outside of the city because they’re being pushed out by the spread of the college. There are plots of land that UCC owns that they should be building student apartments on, which are peripheral to the city and not in the middle of housing estates.” The deadline for members of the public to make submissions about the proposed development is May 16.