Permission is being sought to allow the use of the approved student accommodation at the site of the former Westwood Hotel for tourist and visitor use in the coming academic year.
NTM ROI Seed Capital was granted planning permission in 2018 to demolish the Westwood Hotel in Upper Newcastle and build a five storey student accommodation complex with 394 bed spaces in its place.
The permission by An Bord Pleanála was subject to 14 conditions at the time.
Condition 2 of the Board’s decision stipulated that “The proposed development hereby permitted shall only be occupied as student accommodation, in accordance with the definition of student accommodation provided under section 13(d) of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, and shall not be used for any other purpose without a prior grant of planning permission for change of use.”
An application has now been made to vary condition 2 of the grant of planning permission to allow limited use of the development for tourist accommodation.
The developer seeks permission to “permit partial occupation of the permitted student accommodation for tourist and visitor use” from September 2020 to May 2021.
Outside of this specific period of time, the original planning conditions would still apply.
Concerns have been raised that, due to coronavirus pandemic, there could be a serious decline in university enrolment for the coming academic year, particularly from foreign students.
This could have a serous knock on impact on dedicated student accomodation providers, of which the Westwood development is one of several to come on stream in Galway recently.
An Bord Pleanála is due to make a decision on this application by August 4, 2020.