Go-ahead for €25m student ‘digs’ project is appealed

The proposed student accommodation development at Queen Street.
The proposed student accommodation development at Queen Street.

A decision to grant planning permission for a substantial student accommodation in the Docks area of the city is the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanála with a decision expected within a couple of months.

However, there has been considerable support for the €25 million project – with the chronic lack of student accommodation being cited by the likes of Yeats College.

And the view has been expressed that the creation of additional student accommodation will free up other living space across the city that would be more suitable for couples and families.

Support for the project at Queen Street, adjacent to The Docks, has also come from Galway City Business Association, Galway Chamber of Commerce, The G Hotel, and Hotel Meyrick as well as from a number of individual residents.

Galway City Council approved the plans in December for the  massive student accommodation development in the new ‘urban quarter’ at Galway Docks – which will include 354 en suite bedrooms – adjacent to a €104m office project already approved prior to this.

Developer Gerry Barrett of Bonham Dock Ltd has been given the go-ahead for the ‘Queen Street Development’ on a three-quarter acre site adjacent to the United Methodist & Presbyterian Church on Victoria Place.

The land is owned by British technology entrepreneurs Shukri Shammas and Tareq Naqib of Summix – which has assets worth around stg£40 million – and who have branched out into the development of student accommodation in Ireland.

Planners attached a series of conditions to the permission, including a stipulation that the development must only be used for student accommodation during the academic year, and student or tourist accommodation only during the academic holiday periods.

It cannot be used for permanent residential accommodation, as a hotel, hostel, apart-hotel or similar use without a prior grant of permission from the Council.

The Council has also sought an extensive construction and excavation plan for the site, and ordered that an archaeologist be employed on site during works.

A development contribution of just under €300,000 must also be made to the local authority toward the provision of services.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.