Almost 300 more student beds for Grangegorman

Seven-storey development granted despite concerns of ‘over-concentration’ of students

 A senior planning inspector said the provision of student accommodation accorded with the council’s policies and national policies. Photograph: Getty Images

A senior planning inspector said the provision of student accommodation accorded with the council’s policies and national policies. Photograph: Getty Images

 

Plans for a seven-storey apartment complex for almost 300 students beside the new DIT campus at Grangegorman, Dublin, have been approved by An Bord Pleanála despite concerns about an over-concentration of student housing in the area.

Investment fund NTM Capital has permission to redevelop the former Nolan Seafoods factory on Rathdown Road as a 289-bed complex, and create a link to a 444-bed student development which is already under construction on the North Circular Road.

The application was made directly to An Bord Pleanála under the new “fast-track” planning process for large housing developments. Under the Strategic Housing Development system applications for schemes of more than 100 homes, or blocks of 200 student bed spaces, are made directly to the board, bypassing the local authority decision phase.

However, the application was presented to Dublin City Councillors last November as part of the process.

A number of councillors raised concerns about the concentration of student accommodation in the area since DIT began moving students to Grangegorman in the last two years. They also queried whether the council should give consent for work to a public laneway serving the development.

In a subsequent submission to the board Fine Gael councillor Ray McAdam said the application represented over-development of the site and should be rejected.

“This area is suffering from an over-concentration of one type of development running counter to the principles of good planning. If granted there would be a total of 1,724 student bed spaces within 250m of the subject site, an area which has a population of 500.”

Letter of consent

Mr McAdam also raised concern that a letter of consent to use the public lane had been issued by the council management to the developer. “The use or disposal of this lane is a reserved function. It is premature for the council executive to submit its support for such a measure.”

A number of residents had also objected to the over-concentration of student housing in the area.

However, the board’s senior planning inspector, Joanna Kelly, said the provision of student accommodation accorded with the council’s policies and national policies. She said the development would increase the amount of student accommodation in a 1km area by 8 per cent. “I do not consider such to represent an over-concentration of student population.”

She said she noted concerns about the letter of consent to carry out work to the public laneway, but said it was not her view that the agreement of councillors was required for the letter to be issued.

A spokesman for the developer said the proposal to upgrade the lane had been included in the application at the suggestion of the council, and would be “paid for by the applicant and would be a planning benefit arising from the development”.