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Green light for 'boutique hotel' style student accommodation in Dublin’s Liberties in spite of locals' concerns

Residents say he increase of transient type accommodation will have a negative impact on the current community in the Liberties.

CGI Image Showing the Northern Elevation of Block C from St Luke’s Avenue
CGI Image Showing the Northern Elevation of Block C from St Luke’s Avenue

AN BORD PLEANÁLA has given the green light for 368 student bed spaces in Dublin’s Liberties where the promoters are promising to provide high-end student accommodation “akin to a boutique hotel” 

The appeals board has granted Summix FRC Developments Ltd planning permission under Government fast track planning rules in spite of local objectors who claim that the plan will lead to “studentification” of the area due to an over-concentration of student accommodation. 

The ‘Ardee Point’ student accommodation scheme is to be operated by “luxury high end” UK-based student accommodation operator, NIDO Student.

According to consultants for the applicants, Thornton O’Connor Town Planning, NIDO Student “positions itself differently from standard student operators, providing accommodation akin to a boutique hotel and a range of services and events for both the residents and the local community”.

According to planning documents lodged with the appeals board, the NIDO Student “product is higher-end residences that include 24/7 security and night concierge service, housekeeping, maintenance and an experiential events programme focusing on social, learning and career events”.

The documentation states that NIDO “takes inspiration from a wide variety of specialist niches including boutique hotels, airlines, members’ clubs and luxury brands”.

However, residents and residents associations in the area told the appeals board that the current high levels of student housing in the vicinity and the increase of transient type accommodation will have a negative impact on the current community in the Liberties.

The objectors also claimed that Dublin 8 is at saturation point and there are over 5,000 student bed spaces either existing or planned.

A submission from members of Dublin City Council from the area claimed that the proposal will lead to anti-social behaviour from a transient community and cause a ghetto. 

The student accommodation – which had the backing of City Council planners – will range from two storeys to eight storeys. 

The appeals board inspector in the case, Karen Hamilton pointed out that the Council do not consider that the proposed development will lead to an over-concentration of student accommodation.

Hamilton also cited the applicant’s planning report which stated that the potential number of students living in the catchment area would be up to 8.7% of the total population and that this would not be an overconcentration of student accommodation.

Hamilton concluded that having regard to the national guidance for student bed space requirements, the location of the existing and proposed student accommodation relative to the site, the scale of the development and the number and location of higher and third level education facilities in the surrounding area, “I do not consider 368 student bed spaces would be excessive at this location”.

Hamilton stated that the design of the scheme is of high quality.

The board has granted planning subject to 18 conditions.

The planned student residence – to be located at the Brewery Block site bounded by St Luke’s Avenue, Brabazon Place/Row and Ardee Street at Dublin – is to have a gym and a cinema room.

Planning permission is already in place for 349 student bed-spaces at the site. The new application is to supersede those plans and is not be in addition to the already granted 349 beds.  

In total, planning permission has been granted for 3,888 student bed-spaces within 1km of the site in the capital.

About the author:

Gordon Deegan

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