An Bord Plenala has approved a number of applications under the Strategic Housing Development scheme for student accommodation in the capital.

The Bord has given the go-ahead for student accommodation at the former Blakes and Esmonde Motors sites in Stillorgan, just beside the N11. The site is owned by Cairns Homes plc. There will be 576 student beds as part of 179 ‘student accommodation units’, alongside 103 residential apartment units, a retail unit, and a community sports hall. The project will include ‘student amenities such as [a] gym, study spaces and communal lounges.’

The application included a Student Accommodation Management Plan, with the site to be run by Res, a new entrant to the student accommodation market. Res is a subsidiary of Cairns Homes. Res is involved in four building projects for student accommodation, and currently operates the ‘existing 110 bed scheme’ at Blackhall Place near DIT’s Grangegorman Campus.

The Plan states that Res aims to ‘create diversity and inclusiveness by promoting a mixture of international and domestic residents in each apartment cluster while also respecting that students in different years of study have varying priorities.’ Postgraduate students will be ‘grouped together to allow for quieter living for intensive study.’

The Plan also sets out how the operation will be managed. It contains a provision for the use of ‘Community Ambassadors’, who live in the accommodation, and who will be ‘employed by Res to act as a link between the Res student and the local community.’ It states they will be ‘provided with the necessary training to carry out their role, such as first aid, fire management and major incident management in addition to other safety training as required.’

The Bord also approved the demolition of the Donnelly Centre on Cork Street, to be replaced by a new building which will contain 399 student beds, consisting of apartments and studios built in clusters. The new structure will be six or seven storeys high, with space for a retail unit. The student accommodation ‘will be professionally managed and accommodation will be available for short-term stays for tourists or other visitors outside of term time.’

Condition 2 of the grant states the project must be used for student accommodation. The owners must obtain a prior grant of planning permission in order to use it for a different purpose. This is ‘in the interest of residential amenity and to limit the scope of the proposed development to that for which the application was made.’ It is also owned by Cairns Homes.

Cian Carton – Editor