Bord Pleanála consents to court orders on student accommodation

Planning permission was for facility alongside existing Trinity Hall complex

It is claimed the board wrongly treated the proposal as a standalone development rather than one linked to existing accommodation at Trinity Hall.

An Bord Pleanála has consented to High Court orders overturning its planning permission for 358 student accommodation bed spaces and four staff apartments on a site alongside the existing Trinity Hall student accommodation complex in Dartry.

Patricia Kenny, from nearby Temple Road, Dartry, took the proceedings against the board over its permission granted last August.

On Monday, Mr Justice Richard Humphreys, who manages the High Court’s commercial planning and strategic infrastructure list, was told the board was consenting to an order quashing its permission decision and to a costs order. The judge made those orders.

The permission was for demolition of existing structures within the curtilage of Greenane House, a protected structure, and for the construction of four apartments and 358 student accommodation bed spaces and associated site works at Cunningham House, Trinity Hall.


The board had granted permission, subject to 21 conditions.

It considered, provided those conditions were complied with, that the proposed development would constitute an acceptable scale of development in this urban location, respect the existing character of the area and be acceptable in terms of urban design, height and extent of development.

Environmental impact assessment

Represented by Oisín Collins, the core claim by Mrs Kenny, who lives directly across the road from the site, was that the board wrongly treated it as a standalone development rather than one linked to existing accommodation at Trinity Hall in considering whether the development required an environmental impact assessment (EIA).

Previously, when seeking leave to bring the challenge, Mr Collins said the proposed development was an extension to the original development of student accommodation at Trinity Hall, which had been subject to an assessment. Mrs Kenny’s case was this proposed development also required an EIA.

A board inspector had concluded that the environmental report submitted by Trinity College Dublin identified and adequately describes the environmental effects of the development and that an EIA was not required, counsel outlined.

Mrs Kenny’s case was that the screening was not adequate and that the board erred in law in agreeing with the inspector.

The inspector had also concluded an EIA was not necessary because the proposed development was for 358 student bed spaces, not 358 dwelling units. Mrs Kenny also argued the inspector, and the board, erred in law in not assessing the development in relation to dwelling units.

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan

Mary Carolan is the Legal Affairs Correspondent of the Irish Times