A massive student student accommodation project in Dangan with an estimated value of €23 million has been granted planning approval.
NUI Galway applied directly to An Bord Pleanála for permission to build four blocks of student accommodation with 125 apartments at the Northern Campus in Dangan.
This development will be built on a 5.73 hectare site owned by NUIG which is currently unused scrubland.
The four blocks will be between four and eight storeys tall, with a total of 674 bed spaces.
Among the apartments there will be 85 units of 6 ensuite bedrooms, 4 units of 5 ensuite bedroom and 36 units of 4 ensuite bedrooms, with communal living areas in each unit.
During the summer months when students go home the apartments will be let out to tourists.
The planning documents submitted to An Bord Pleanála said that the project will deliver a “high quality, professionally managed student accommodation development to serve the existing and future needs of the city’s university population.”
Galway City Council said that purpose built student accommodation can “relieve the pressure for housing” in the private sector and will supplement existing accommodation for the student population.
It was added that it is appropriate that the development be built on campus grounds as this will make it easy for students to travel to and from the university, and it is close to a high frequency bus route.
A ‘Campus Operational Management Plan’ submitted with the plan said that a full time, on-site management team will enforce “strict rules and protocols” with regard to “access, behaviour and consideration for neighbours”.
The development will include site landscaping and boundary treatment, footpath and cyclist links to the campus network, building signage and all associated works.
NUIG said that from the outset the project was designed “to minimise impacts on sensitive habitats” and includes a Habitats Management Plan developed by the university’s Centre of Environmental Science.
A dedicated Biodiversity Enhancement Area, outside the construction footprint, will be managed to enhance biodiversity in the area.
A total of 376 bicycle parking spaces will serve the development. 310 of those spaces are for students and 63 are for visitors, and three are for the commercial space.
Car parking has been limited to seven accessible parking bays, and this has been deliberately chosen to “promote more sustainable travel patterns”.
The design includes a pick-up/drop-off zone for travel by coach.
The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht noted that the site is close to a recorded ringfort and recommended that archaeological monitoring take place during this development.
A Natura Impact Statement was submitted with this application.
An Bord Pleanála ultimately granted planning approval for the student accommodation with 25 conditions attached.