An Bord Pleanála approves Headford Road student accommodation

Galway Daily news Green light for dozens more bed spaces in Headford Road student accommodation

Planning permission has been upheld for a 223 bed, student accommodation development on the Headford Road in Galway City.

An Bord Pleanála rejected an appeal against plans by Cleverson Ltd to build a student accommodation development consisting of two seven storey buildings linked by a glazed bridge.

The development will also include four retail units and a gym on the lower floors of the building, with the student apartments across the upper floors.

There will be a total of 11 car parking spaces included, and 139 internal and external bicycle spaces.

The site, next to Galway Retail Park, is a mix of wasteland and car parking owned by the developer.

Galway City Council approved the project back in February, subject to 28 conditions, but an appeal against that decision was made to An Bord Pleanála by An Taisce.

The original plans were for 254 bed spaces, with one of the buildings to be eight storeys in height. But these were revised downwards in Further Information submitted to the city council on December 18 of 2020.

An Taisce said that the student accommodation project was premature without a Local Area Plan, as well as a Density and Buildings Height Study.

The appeal also argued that there are deficiencies in the local sewerage network, with untreated wastewater being discharged into Galway Bay and the Lough Corrib Special Area of Conservation.

A response from MKO Planning Consultants on behalf of Cleverson said the lack of an LAP has not affected other developments in the area, that the height and scale of the proposal is in line with national, regional, and local policies, and that there is an identified need for student accommodation.

As regards wastewater, the applicant said that there is reasonable capacity in the network based on a pre-connection enquiry form from Irish Water.

Galway Cycling Campaign made a submission to An Bord Pleanála, though it was not party to the appeal, stating that the number of bicycle spaces was insufficient.

They also said that more details should be provided about cycling access, and that the plans should include a pedestrian crossing on the Headford Road.

Among the revised conditions imposed by An Bord Pleanála on the project, it required that revised plans by submitted, providing bicycle parking for at least 70% occupancy level of the student accommodation.