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05th Oct 2022

‘The big losers are the students’ – planning denied for student accommodation in Limerick

Fiona Frawley

proposed image of the student village in punches cross, limerick

The High Court have overturned permission for the construction of a student complex in Limerick City.

The €30m project has been halted as Mr Justice David Holland ruled against the planning, which was originally granted by An Bord Pleanala. The decision came after An Bord Pleanala failed to circulate the submission from ETI to Limerick’s planners in a timely manner, the Limerick Leader reports.

The proposed site for the 100 apartments, which would house 300 students was the former John Moloney garage site, opposite Punches Cross in the city. The accommodation was designed to meet the needs of students at Mary Immaculate College.

The land has “lain idle for almost two decades”, according to the Limerick Leader.

Solicitor Michelle Hayes from Environmental Trust Ireland (ETI)  had challenged the ruling of An Bord Pleanala in the High Court, putting forward a number of arguments. Mr. Holland said he was denying permission due to the failure of An Bord Pleanala to circulate the arguments from ETI to the planners in a timely manner.

In a statement shared by the Limerick Leader after the ruling was handed down, Ms Hayes said:

I have been highlighting the very serious environmental issues, defects and the problems with build to rent shoebox apartments and co-living policies since June 2019, when the developer, Cloncaragh investments Limited first made its direct planning application to An Bord Pleanala.”

However, disappointment has also been expressed following the ruling, including by former mayor Joe Leddin, who represents City West. He said that the technical procedure issue would effect hundreds of students in desperate need of accommodation:

The decision by the High Court was based on a technical procedural issue by An Bord Pleanála during the process rather than any design flaws or concerns. I would urge the developer to resubmit without delay their application and hopefully we can have this derelict site developed for hundreds of students who desperately require accommodation having chosen to study in Limerick.

Meanwhile, Cllr Azad Talukder said the accommodation would have eased a lot of the pressure on students currently, adding “it is very disappointing, I don’t understand how someone can take this view in the middle of a housing crisis.”

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