CONCERNS regarding a contentious student accommodation complex on Bandon Rd have been put to rest for some, but others will “never accept” the development.
Ashlin House — a five-block development overlooking the Lough — officially opened in the third quarter of 2022.
In 2019, developers Lyonshall had sought permissions for the development of 57 student apartments containing 419 bed spaces, but later sought to increase this to 77 student apartments with 554 bed spaces, after the company acquired 74 Bandon Rd and numbers 1 and 2 Ardnacarrig, which enlarged the site area.
The revised scheme was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála despite some local concerns, including the scale of the proposed development.
However, speaking to The Echo, Kieran Coughlan of Lyonshall said that a number of residents have said their fears have been allayed after seeing the completed development.
“There were people marching around the Lough [during the planning process], [saying] ‘no high rise on the Lough’ — it’s not a high rise on the Lough, it blends into the background,” he contended.
Both Mr Coughlan and Des Riordan, associate director at Clancy Construction, who acted as project manager, said the complex is well managed.
Clancy Construction met with residents to hear their concerns back in May 2020, which included fears around a potential increase in anti-social behaviour.
However, residents were assured that the complex would be run by an experienced management company.
Speaking in relation to the passing of the development, Mr Riordan acknowledged that there are mixed opinions.
“Some people think it’s great and it has transformed the area.
“Some people think ‘no’ and they can’t see past ‘we didn’t want it there, it shouldn’t be there, and we’ll never accept it’. Other people say ‘I was a doubter and now I’m converted’.”
Independent councillor Mick Finn, who had previously expressed concerns around the development, said that he continues to have a problem with what he described as the “visual intrusion on the landscape” and, in particular, “the impacts on overlooking houses in the vicinity”.
“That it is well-run is great, but that’s the least that could be expected,” he said.
Mr Finn said he would have preferred, “given the pressures on housing, if it could have been for families”.