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  • Southside

Gasps greet presentation of UCD plans

Monday, 30th October, 2017 8:00am
Gasps greet  presentation of UCD plans

PlanningApplication.jpg

Gasps greet  presentation of UCD plans

PlanningApplication.jpg

THERE was an “audible gasp” as plans for new student residences proposed for the campus at UCD were presented to coucillors last week.

Councillors from the Stillorgan, Dundrum and Glencullen-Sandyford electoral wards were presented with photomontages of residential blocks totalling 512 accommodation units that were submitted as a Strategic Housing Development to An Bórd Pleanala.
 Cllr John Kennedy (FG), who was at the October 23 meeting of the Dundrum Area Committee, said that when they were presented with photomontages of one part of the scheme depicting seven storeys facing onto Roebuck Road and the Ardilea Estate in Clonskeagh, there was an “audible gasp from the councillors present”. 

“I have never been in any previous meetings of councillors where such a sharp intake of breath was instantly palpable in relation to a given proposal,” Cllr Kennedy said.

“It was clear that a need for increased numbers of student residences is required.

“And there was tolerance expressed at the meeting for such accommodation, once set back appropriately within the campus,  as some of the proposed blocks are.

“What was not appreciated was the extent to which one part of the scheme represents an onerous and overbearing impact upon a well-established and well-regarded residential area in Clonskeagh."
 Cllr Kennedy said the proposed development highlighted the need for an “open and frank debate” regarding the striking of a balance between the building of new accommodation to meet housing needs while at the same time respecting surroundings in existing residential areas.

“New high-density designs should be more complementary to their existing surroundings,” he added.

Cllr Deirdre Donnelly (Ind) also criticised newly introduced planning legislation that bypasses local authorities if the application consists of more than 1,000 units. 

“UCD has applied for planning permission to build accommodation for 3,000 students in an ambitious project that will take place over the next 10 years,” Cllr Donnelly said.

“I welcome student accommodation and believe that the increase in on-site units in UCD will free up the rental market elsewhere in the Clonskeagh and Stillorgan areas.

“But in the past, all planning applications had to go the relevant local authority first, in this case to Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council.

“But due to recently introduced legislation, developers are now able to apply directly to An Bord Pleanála and bypass the relevant local authority if their application consists of more than 1,000 units.”

According to Cllr Donnelly, this legislation is undemocratic and ignores the input members of the public have in the planning process in their area.

“Earlier this year, Minister Simon Coveney visited Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to discuss planning issues,” Cllr Donnelly added.

“This new legislation was raised and his view was that it would speed up the planning process.

“I don’t agree with it but I can understand the Government’s concern in relation to demand for housing.

“This development in UCD, however, will take place over the next 10 years so the urgency is clearly not the same.”

There was no comment from UCD at time of going to press.

On their website it states that the proposed development will increase student residential accommodation by 3,006 bedspaces, and provide other facilities to create a living campus community.

 

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