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194-Bed Student Accommodation Ringaskiddy Scheme Edges Towards Decision

A planning application for a 26 no. student hall accommodation scheme, including 194 bed spaces, at Loughbeg, Ringaskiddy, is edging towards a conclusion with Cork County Council’s Planning Department to make a decision on the plans by January 26th.

The site, located along Ringaskiddy Main Street and opposite the entrance to the Port of Cork, has been subject to a number of planning applications over the years, dating as far back as 2004, with proposals to radically increase the number of dwellings on the site.

In 2007, planning permission had been granted for the development of 23 no. student apartments, but despite an extension of duration to this decision being awarded in 2013, the lands have never been developed. However, in April 2022 a new application was submitted to Cork County Council, with permission requested for the construction of a student campus consisting of a total of 26 student halls, comprising 7 no. 2-storey bedsit halls and 19 no. 3-storey bedsit halls, along with landscaping, and additional services, including the provision of 48 car-parking spaces. The purpose of the student accommodation is to provide bed spaces for those attending the National Maritime College of Ireland, which is a short walk from the site.

As part of the public consultation period, a number of submissions were made on the application, including a letter from the Ringaskiddy Residents’ Group. The submission from the group raised a number of concerns regarding the application. Some of the points raised included the impact the development would have on the upgrades to Main Street following the Public Realm Enhancement programme, increase in noise levels, overlooking and loss of sunlight for existing residents.

The letter also issued concerns regarding potential anti-social behaviour that could arise from the proposal, and also noted that prospective student residents would not have access to a local shop, with the nearest retail store located in Shanbally.

Site subject to planning application in Ringaskiddy

Cork County Council, in June of last year, deemed that an insufficient amount of information had been provided as part of the initial application, lodged in April 2022. The case planner indicated that a revised design of proposals were required which saw a reduction in scale, so that the development was more aligned with the key policy objectives for Ringaskiddy. The planner stated that the scale proposed “is not considered an appropriate size for a town centre site in a village of the scale/character of Ringaskiddy.” The request for further information from the Council also noted that a lack of detail had been provided with regards to traffic during the construction and operational phases of the development, while other issues were raised regarding tree surveys and Ecological Impact Assessments.

The applicant, Patrick Byrne, had 6 months to respond with additional information and did so on November 29th. As part of the supplementary documentary and details provided, the applicant did not however reduce the number of bed spaces proposed, only reducing the number of bedsits from 26 to 24, but retaining the overall bed space figure of 194. The applicant also provided a number of addendums to previously provided documents, such as Traffic and Transport Assessment and Ecological Impact Assessment.

Cork County Council are expected to review the material provided and issue a decision by January 26th 2023.

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