Wednesday 21 March 2018

Board turns down €52m TCD student accommodation plan

TCD planned 278 units for student accommodation
TCD planned 278 units for student accommodation

Gordon Deegan

Trinity College has suffered a major blow in its bid to address the student accommodation crisis after An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission for a €52m redevelopment for student accommodation.

TCD wanted to demolish the existing five-storey Oisin House, which has been in use by the Department of Social Protection and its predecessor on Dublin's Pearse Street for over 20 years.

The college wanted to build a seven-storey, 13,800 sq m scheme to house 278 student accommodation units.

The City Council gave the go-ahead in spite of opposition from An Taisce while one Trinity alumna, Dr Kate Yeaton, branded the plans a "monstrosity".

The plan was slated to be complete by 2018. The council decision resulted in An Taisce appealing the ruling to An Bord Pleanála. In its appeal, it claimed the scheme as proposed "would constitute a disorderly, incoherent form of development with an overscaled building".

In the surprise decision to refuse planning, the appeals board disregarded the recommendation of its own inspector to grant planning.

A TCD spokeswoman said yesterday: "While Trinity is committed to providing more quality student accommodation and helping our students in the current crisis, we will have to review the An Bord Pleanála decision and its recommendation over the coming days and consider what is feasible." The inspector stated that the proposed development would not seriously injure the amenities of the area and would provide an acceptable standard of amenity for future residents.

In its ruling, the board stated that having regard to the scale, mass and height of the proposed development, it considered that the proposal would represent overdevelopment, be overbearing and visually obtrusive.

It also concluded that the plan would seriously detract from the visual amenities of the area, would have a negative impact on the architectural charter of the area, and would establish a negative precedent for similar development. The board stated that the inspector's recommendation to reduce the block's height would not have satisfactorily overcome the board's serious concerns.

Irish Independent

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