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Permission given to Trinity Hall extension despite concerns over 'screaming, shouting, and urinating'

Dozens of submissions from local residents raised concerns about the plans.

The new accommodation will be constructed at Trinity Hall (file photo)
The new accommodation will be constructed at Trinity Hall (file photo)
Image: Google Street View

TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN has been given planning permission to build a 358-bed extension to its student accommodation in Dartry despite objections from locals.

The university lodged plans for the development at Trinity Hall in May, prompting a slew of complaints from nearby residents about potential noise and anti-social behaviour.

The proposal will see the demolition of Cunningham House (containing 70 student bedspaces currently on the campus), and the construction of four new blocks, ranging in height from a single story to eight storeys.

Trinity College will also build a multi-use sports hall and two new study spaces as part of the development.

The plans will increase the number of bedspaces on the campus to 1,283, and were submitted to An Bórd Pleanála as a so-called ‘strategic development’, allowing the university to bypass Dublin City Council in the planning process.

Consultants for TCD told the board that the proposal will “deliver and operate a best in class student residential scheme at Trinity Hall”.

They said the proposal would compliment existing student residences on the site and provide well-designed accommodation to facilitate learning and social development. 

However, dozens of submissions from local residents raised concerns about the plans, with almost all of them referencing possible noise from students, anti-social behaviour, disruption and littering.

One couple who contacted the board said they experienced noise on a regular basis due to the large numbers of drunken students exiting Trinity Hall at night.

The wrote: “Screaming, shouting, urinating on the street and a trail of empty cans and bottles are typical features of this night time exodus.”

There were also questions from locals about the height and scale of the plans, with some suggesting the site was not appropriate for student accommodation because Darty is a regeneration area.

In its submissions to the planning board, Dublin City Council said the proposal is consistent with zoning objectives of the site and would consolidate student accommodation at existing residences.

The local authority also found that the development would have “no negative impacts on existing residential amenity of neighbouring property”. But it did not address concerns about student behaviour or noise.

In her report, An Bord Pleanála’s inspector Lorraine Dockery said she noted the submissions made by locals about anti-social behaviour and disruption, but said these were issues for gardaí and outside the remit of a planning application.

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“In addition to continually monitoring the substantial CCTV network, staff carry out regular patrols of buildings and the grounds,” Dockery said.

“The main reception is manned 24/7. I am satisfied in this regard. It is inevitable that there will be some increased noise and footfall given the increase in population associated…

“I have no information before me to believe that this would be excessive.”

In granting permission, the board attached a condition that the development should only be occupied as student accommodation once built.

Contains reporting by Gordon Deegan.

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