Bord Pleanála clears ways for 276-unit Dún Laoghaire student accommodation scheme

Council planners had recommended refusal of new development at Baker’s Corner

An Bord Pleanála has given the green light to plans for a 276-unit student accommodation scheme for Dún Laoghaire.

The appeals board has granted planning permission for a six-storey development at Baker’s Corner despite the strong recommendation of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to refuse planning permission.

The scheme, which has the formal support of the Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology, involves the demolition of the well-known Baker’s Corner pub and the construction of a replacement pub and two commercial units along with the 276 student bed spaces.

Refusal

The scheme faced opposition from residents, a nearby nursing home, An Taisce and local TD Richard Boyd Barrett.

Council planners recommended refusal to An Bord Pleanála after concluding that the scheme would adversely impact on the amenities of adjacent properties due to its overall scale and massing.

However, the board concluded that the scheme was strategic and part of a cumulative response to an issue of national importance: the provision of housing.

The board said that the scheme represented “the regeneration of an important site and makes a contribution to the housing stock of some 276 student bed spaces and therefore seeks to address a fundamental objective of the housing plan”.

The board inspector in the case, Rónán O’Connor, concluded that the scheme had “successfully achieved a balance between a higher-density development which makes more efficient use of a key urban site and one which has had sufficient regard to its context”.

Mr O’Connor also rejected concerns by two student unions that “unnecessary luxuries” such as a gym and cinema room in the scheme would only increase rental costs for students and make the scheme unaffordable.

Amenities

Mr O’Connor said that the provision of such amenities was standard in modern student accommodation developments and no evidence has been provided to support the argument that such amenities result in the units becoming unaffordable.

The developers had previously stressed that the rents at the scheme were intended to be “fully affordable”.

Recommending that planning permission be granted, Mr O’Connor said that the scale of the proposed development was desirable having regard to its location close to a third-level institution.

He said that “the development would not have any significant adverse impacts on the amenities of the surrounding area. The future occupiers of the scheme will also benefit from a high standard of internal amenity”.