Students’ union questions need for ‘unnecessary luxuries’ in accommodation development

Proposed Baker’s Corner scheme includes gym and cinema room

Plans to include "unnecessary luxuries" such as a gym and cinema room at a 276-unit student accommodation scheme planned for Dún Laoghaire will only increase rental costs for students, according to the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology Students' Union (IADTSU).

In one of two student union submissions to An Bord Pleanála, union president Eoin Hicks Smyth expressed concern at the cost of rents in the planned fast track Strategic Housing Development (SHD) scheme.

Mr Hicks Smith said that “IADTSU anticipates that luxurious amenities at this development, the on-site gym, cinema room and coffee dock will be subsidised by high rents outside the price point of the majority of IADT students”.

The scheme – which comprises a six-storey development at Baker’s Corner and the demolition of the well-known Baker’s Corner pub – is facing opposition from locals, An Taisce and a nearby nursing home.

Amenities

Mr Hicks Smith claimed that amenities such as a gym, a coffee shop or pub are already available in the immediate area and as such “are unnecessary luxuries that will unequivocally raise the cost of rent within the SHD”.

He said the development “in the proposed form is out of touch with students’ needs”.

In a separate submission, vice president for the Dublin region of the Union of Students of Ireland (USI), Caoimhe O’Carroll said: “With provision for an on-site gym, cinema room and coffee dock, the applicant appears more concerned with gimmicks and frivolous add-ons than basic student needs.”

Ms O’Carroll further contended that “this development is an effort to provide high price accommodation to relatively wealthy students, with the impact of pushing the prevailing price in the general market higher”.

Asked to respond to the points made in the students’ unions submissions, the developer stressed that the rents at the scheme were intended to be “fully affordable”.

Brock McClure are the planning consultants acting for the applicant, Baker Forge Properties Ltd, and, speaking on the developers' behalf, Laura Brock said the scheme was "prepared, and the application lodged, with the express support of the Institute of Art, Design and Technology ".

Scheme

The founding partner at Brock McClure also said that the scheme was “intended to be fully affordable and is aimed solely at students of IADT”.

Ms Brock added that “generous amenity facilities are proposed to provide an appropriate environment for IADT students to study, relax and socialise with their peers”.

“Our client would welcome the opportunity to deliver this high-quality scheme for the benefit of the student population of Dún Laoghaire,” Ms Brock said.

A decision is due on the application in January.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times

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