Liberties 368-student residence plan gets approval

Bord Pleanála approves expanding proposed scheme despite local objections

An Bord Pleanála has given the green light for 368 student bed spaces in Dublin's Liberties, where the promoters are promising to provide high-end student accommodation "akin to a boutique hotel".

The appeals board has granted Summix FRC Developments Ltd planning permission under fast-track planning rules in spite of local objectors who claim that the plan will lead to “studentification” of the area due to an over-concentration of student accommodation.

The Ardee Point scheme – to be located at the Brewery Block site bounded by St Luke’s Avenue, Brabazon Place/Row and Ardee Street – is to be operated by “luxury high-end” UK-based student accommodation operator, Nido Student.

The approval supersedes existing approved plans for a 349 student bed scheme on the site.


According to consultants for the applicants, Thornton O'Connor Town Planning, Nido Student "positions itself differently from standard student operators, providing accommodation akin to a boutique hotel and a range of services and events for both the residents and the local community".

According to planning documents lodged with the appeals board, the Nido Student schemes include 24/7 security and night concierge service, housekeeping, maintenance and “an experiential events programme focusing on social, learning and career events”. The Ardee Point scheme will feature a gym and a cinema room.

Residents in the area told the appeals board that the current high levels of student housing in the vicinity and the increase of transient-type accommodation would have a negative impact on the current community in the Liberties.

The objectors claimed Dublin 8 is at saturation point with more than 5,000 student bed spaces either existing or planned.

A submission from local Dublin City councillors claimed the proposal would lead to anti-social behaviour from a transient community and cause a ghetto.

The student accommodation – which had the backing of city council planners – will range in height from two to eight storeys.

Appeals board inspector Karen Hamilton noted that the council does not consider that the proposed development will lead to an over-concentration of student accommodation.

Ms Hamilton also cited the applicant’s planning report, which stated that the number of students living in the catchment area would be up to 8.7 per cent of the total population and that this would not be an over-concentration of student accommodation.

Ms Hamilton concluded that, having regard to the national guidance for student bed-space requirements, the location of the existing and proposed student accommodation relative to the site, the scale of the development and the number and location of higher- and third-level education facilities in the surrounding area, “I do not consider 368 student bed spaces would be excessive at this location”.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times