Green light for 700-bed student scheme in south Dublin

Bord Pleanála grants permission despite local opposition

A 698-bed student accommodation development for Goatstown in south Dublin had been approved by An Bord Pleanála.

The €160 million project, comprising of eight blocks, was opposed by local politicians, residents and Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

Both the Minister for Tourism Catherine Martin and Minister of State for Special Education and Inclusion Josepha Madigan, who are local TDs, made submissions to the planning board in support of residents opposing the scheme.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown council also recommended that planning permission also be refused.



Colbeam Ltd, the Irish arm of Michael Cox's UK based Hollybrook Homes, is managing the scheme which is planned for a site at Our Lady's Grove in Goatstown, less than a kilometre from UCD.

A spokesman for Hollybrook Homes said on Tuesday that it welcomed An Bord Pleanála decision.

“The board has acknowledged that this is an ideal site for student accommodation, just 850 metres from the UCD campus and close to Luas, bus and cycle lanes.

“It will make a previously inaccessible site accessible with a linear park and nature trail with 37.5 per cent of the site in open park space. Work on the €160 million scheme will commence as soon as possible to facilitate students for the 2024 academic year,” he said.

A previous plan for the site for 132 apartments was granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála but the permission was quashed by the High Court following judicial review proceedings brought by a resident.

In total the appeals board received 64 submissions mainly from residents concerning the planned student scheme.

In its decision the board determined that the scheme materially contravened the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown county development plan in terms of height, density and open space.

However, the board said that it was justified in granting planning permission for the scheme in terms of the 2040 National Planning Framework which supports increased residential densities and building heights at appropriate locations.


The board inspector in the case, Elaine Power, said the site was capable of accommodating a high density scheme and the proposed quantum of development was appropriate with regard to the site's size and the nature of the development.

Ms Power concluded that the proposed development would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity, would be acceptable in terms of urban design, height and quantum of development and would be acceptable in terms of traffic and pedestrian safety and convenience.

Ms Power also said that “the scheme results in high-quality usable open space that would benefit the wider community and support the provision of an open space character and a recreational amenity on these institutional lands”.

In her submission, Ms Martin told the appeals board that “I would like to add my voice and my support to the residents’ groups who are making a submission in relation to this development with similar concerns and to urge An Bord Pleanála to give due weight to the issues that have been raised”.

She pointed out that the density and height of the proposed development are both in excess of what is permitted in the current Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown development plan.

Ms Madigan told the appeals board that from her many interactions with local residents, it was very clear that the community had no intention of blocking housing development in the area for the sake of it.

“All that they are asking for is a development that benefits both the existing and new communities. There is an underlying concern that this proposal will not achieve this goal,” she added.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times