A PLANNING application seeking permission to develop more than 200 student bedspaces near UCC has been lodged with An Bord Pleanála.
Bellmount Developments Limited has submitted the strategic housing development (SHD) application requesting approval for the construction of 78 student accommodation apartments, comprising a total of 206 bedspaces, in a single six-storey block at the former site of the Finbarr Galvin Motor Dealership, fronting on to Victoria Cross Road and Orchard Road.
The application seeks the demolition of existing structures on site and the construction of the 78 apartments, which would range in size from single bed studios to eight-bed apartments.
The proposed development would include student amenity facilities such as a study area, games room, lounge space, laundry room and server/ICT room.
It also includes the provision of a new junction build out at the junction of Orchard Road and Victoria Cross Road; the provision of footpaths and landscaped areas along Victoria Cross Road; and all associated ancillary development including pedestrian/cyclist facilities, bicycle storage and lighting.
In the planning and design statement accompanying the application, it says that the site is bounded by the Wilton Road to the west, Orchard Road on the north and the Glasheen River to the east and that there is a vacant two storey former tyre centre workshop to the south with existing permission for a 134-bed student accommodation development.
According to the statement, the subject site was chosen by the applicants “due to its convenient location and proximity to the main campus of University College Cork (UCC)”. It also notes that, for students attending Munster Technological University (MTU), bus stops near the subject site ensure the campus could be easily accessible for students living in the building. No car parking spaces would be provided with the development.
The planning and design statement describes the site as “an underutilised brownfield site” which “presents a gap within an otherwise dense ribbon of existing and as-permitted development between Victoria Cross to the north, and Dennehy’s Cross to the south”.
It claims that “great care has been taken to ensure that there will not be an adverse impact on the general residential amenities of the area”.
If the development were to be given the green light, it is the applicants’ intention to start construction immediately “and to be up and running for the 2023-2024 academic year”.
In the planning and design statement, prepared by McCutcheon Halley Chartered Planning Consultants, in conjunction with Butler Cammoranesi Architects, JODA Consulting Engineers and Cathal O’Meara Landscape Architects on behalf of the applicants, it is submitted that the proposed development is “broadly compliant” with the current and previous Cork City Development Plans, but it represents a material contravention in some aspects such as in relation to development adjoining watercourse corridors and density and building height.
However, the statement argues that the material contravention would be justified for a number of reasons, including its potential to “contribute to the achievement of the Government’s policy to increase delivery of housing from its current under supply as set out in Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness 2016, and to facilitate the achievement of greater density and height in residential development in an urban centre close to public transport and centres of employment”.
An Bord Pleanála is due to make a decision on the application towards the end of November.