Planning permission granted for sizeable student housing development in Garrycastle

Planning permission has been approved by An Bord Pleanála for a sizeable student accommodation development at Cartrontroy, Kilnafaddoge and Lissywollen.

The proposed student accommodation development was initially submitted to the planning board in January and will consist of 122 residential units (60 houses, 62 apartments ), 283 bedspace student accommodation units, creche and associated site works, when constructed.

Located 700 metres to the rear of TUS, the proposed development, known as ‘The Green Quarter’, encompasses a 4.01 hectare site and is composed of residential units rising to seven storeys in height with an intended construction phase of 24 to 36 months if approved.

The planning approval, granted to Avenir Homes Ltd, is subject to numerous conditions, An Bord Pleanála stating that it was satisfied that the development would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or of property in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of pedestrian and traffic safety.

Mark Cunningham, is director with Avenir Homes, the company which will construct the development on an 11 acre site close to the TUS Athlone campus.

“As you can imagine, we were thrilled to hear that An Bord Pleanála had granted planning permission for this development which will encompass four townlands on an 11 acre site. There were numerous pre-planning meetings with the local authority and An Bord Pleanála prior to formal submission to the planning board in January of this year,” Mr Cunningham asserted.

The greenway forms an integral part of the development with the architect noting its importance as a route connector in the plans submitted to An Bord Pleanála.

“The greenway forms a major part of this development with connectivity to the centre of Athlone essential for students who will avail of the accommodation when it is constructed,” Mr Cunningham remarked.

An Bord Pleanála noted that the granting of planning permission could contravene the residential density and building height and design objectives of the Athlone Town Development Plan.

“However, given Athlone’s status as a growth centre under the National Planning Framework, the planning aboard allowed for the development to proceed with the potential of the project to contribute to the achievement of Government policy to increase the delivery of housing.

“Two accommodation blocks will be relocated as they were deemed in close proximity to the greenway but in the main, the conditions relating to the planning permission award are standard and workable.

The architect says while there is a very challenging climate for construction right now he’s hopeful the situation may have calmed a little before the actual start of building.

“Initially, there are compliance documents to complete and the development will then go to tender before construction commences which will hopefully be towards the end of the calendar year.

“While the cost of building materials has escalated I am of the view that upon construction of the development premiums may have stabilised to allow project progress.

“There is a chronic shortage of housing, particularly student accommodation, and we will initially focus on this element of the build when construction commences. Covid-19 had a detrimental impact on the current provision of student accommodation with those in third level education returning home and landlords being left with no alternative but to rent out such properties to the general market,” Mr Cunningham concluded.


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