An Bord Pleanála has granted planning permission to UCD for the construction of phase 1 and phase 2 of their proposed new student accommodation which is estimated to cost around €300 million.

The application was the first to be accepted under the new legislation which allows spaces of more than 100 residential units or 200 student beds to be made directly to An Bord Pleanála.

The direct application allows a decision to be made on the application within 16 weeks. The application was submitted in September 2017 and a decision was made on 11th January 2018, a week before the final date.

The original proposal was to build 3,006 bed spaces in Phases 1 and 2 with 5 blocks of 5-7 storeys each being proposed along with a fulcrum building which would contain 60 studio apartments and a gym amongst the student facilities. These proposed buildings would be higher than any previous student accommodation built in UCD.

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Above: Breakdown of the proposed building including block F which permission has been refused for. 

Phase 3 invoiced the demolition of some buildings and the building of a 6th block of apartments. Phase 3 was refused permission as it would have been constructed near protected structures Roebuck Castle and Roebuck Glebe and according to the report would “adversely affect the character and setting of the protected structures”. The omission of this final block means the number of proposed bed spaces was reduced by 828 apartments.

994 car parking spaces comprising 637 basement spaces, 32 no. surface spaces, expansion of existing ‘Little Sisters’ car park by 225 spaces and 100 spaces adjacent to Sutherland School of Law were also proposed. The refusal of permission for Phase 3 means the expansion of Little Sisters carpark and 100 spaces near the School of Law will also be omitted.

Speaking to the Tribune about the planned rooms, Education Officer Rob Sweeney said “We welcome the start of this development of on campus accommodation, we push though that this accomdation when delivered must be affordable. We fear that if prices are set to high students will see UCD becoming unaffordable and as such UCD will lose some of the best and brightest students entering into college who will instead choose other institutions who offer accomdation that is affordable. The financial strain that the current prices being charged for accommodation not only in UCD but also in Dublin is evident through the increased number of students coming to us for help with basic living expenses. We have been assured that we will be listened to throughout the development, and we will be pushing affordable accomdation included in this will be the provision of shared rooms.”

Rachel O’Neill – Editor