Sunday 18 February 2024

Turning empty offices into student blocks could be a win-win solution

 While proposals to convert offices into student accommodation or other forms of residential accommodation are regularly mooted, care is required as residential developments are subject to wholly different planning standards especially regarding open space. The Business Post's latest article on this shows the potential but not the how.

Ireland’s student accommodation sector is expected to be one of the markets to benefit from a stabilisation in both interest rates and construction cost inflation. Already the market is underpinned by student demand as reflected in Higher Education Authority (HEA) estimates that 75,640 student beds would be required by 2024. But supply is well short of that figure and according to the latest report from Mitchell McDermott property consultants, only 1,500 to 2,000 beds are being built annually so supply will reach only 55,000 beds by 2027. One way to accelerate delivery would be conversion of office buildings and John Dobbin of Shay Cleary Architects said that student accommodation (PBSA) could be a more suitable conversion project than residential apartments. Indeed, by providing PBSA more quickly this would also help to remove thousands of students from the wider residential rental market. Dobbin pointed out that older offices built in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are particularly suited for conversion compared to more modern ones because the older ones have narrower floor plates of 13 to 15 metres, central corridors, suitable floor-to-ceiling heights and fewer columns.

Read the full article @ The Business Post

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Co Wexford councillors raise concerns about use of log cabins

 The issue of 'off the peg' log cabins being imported into Ireland in kit form and erected instead of standard houses has been the subject of so many planning applications. National guidance on such buildings would be welcomed.

At a recent Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District meeting councillors raised concerns about the use of log cabins in the county. 

Cllr Mary Farrell asked if log cabins were permitted on land bought from Wexford County Council. She spoke of a young family that she is aware of that are currently living in a mobile home in the garden of their mother’s house in Gorey. “The County Development Plan facilitates log cabins where it complies with the standards but there is a difference between rural areas and someone in an urban setting where someone wants to put it in their back garden and they’re surrounded by their neighbours. It depends where it is and they will be assessed on a case by case basis,” said Director of Service, Elizabeth Hore in response to Cllr Farrell’s question.

Read the full article @ The Irish Independent

Derelict Limerick warehouse to be redeveloped into apartments

 A derelict warehouse in Limerick City is set to be redeveloped into 20 apartments after An Bord Plean├íla approved a planning application. Real Capital GP had been granted permission for the proposal by Limerick City and County Council. The works involve the demolition of a warehouse on a site roughly 1km east of Limerick City, on St Anne's Road. Some 20 apartments, 10 one-bed and 10 two-bed units, are proposed for the four-storey building. Several third-party appeals were lodged against this decision, though, with appellants raising concerns about the new development feeling out of place with the existing architecture in the area.

Read the full article @ The Irish Examiner

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Hines student accommodation leases in Dublin jump to 51 weeks, at a cost of €13,620

Few in my years in college back in the 1990s could have afforded to pay for a de facto year long lease for student accommodation. These student units are being treated as mini apartments for the few. Planning conditions need to be tightened up on permissions and development plan policies around student accommodation planning requirements revised. Hines decision will cause all future student accommodation planning applications to be treated with suspicion by planners.

One of the biggest private student landlords in Dublin is increasing lease lengths for the 2024-2025 academic year, meaning students will now have to sign up for a 51-week tenancy, some 10 weeks longer than the typical lease for this year. This is despite the fact that many students living in the city during the academic year do not require accommodation over the summer months. The least expensive rate available for next year on Aparto’s website at the time of writing was €260 per week for a one-bed ground-floor en-suite room at its Dorset Point location in Dublin 1. Assuming constant prices, the longer lease means that student will be paying €13,620 for their room next year compared with €10,660 this year, a more than 27 per cent increase. The lease length, meanwhile, will have increased by 24 per cent, from 41 weeks to 51 weeks.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

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Long-delayed MetroLink can get planning permission this year, Eamon Ryan insists

 Metrolink has been a very very long time in coming. Must be one of the longest such projects to be at inception phase for so long. 

Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has said he believes the long-awaited Dublin MetroLink will be granted planning permission this year. The €9.6 billion project, which will link Swords and Dublin Airport with the city centre, is due to be considered at An Bord Plean├íla oral hearings from February 19th. Jack Chambers, the Minister of State for transport, told the Sunday Times this week that “based on delays for other transport projects, it is unclear at what point the department will receive a decision on MetroLink”. Speaking on Newstalk’s The Anton Savage Show, Mr Ryan said he remained confident that it would receive planning approval this year and be built by the early 2030s.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

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Hozier unlikely to obtain planning permission for new guest accommodation at Wicklow home

Trying to obtain planning permission for development at your home can arise for any property owner not just Hozier. Call BPS to discuss if you have any such issues.

One of the country’s most popular music stars, Hozier is singing the blues after Council planners have told him that planned new guest accommodation at his Co Wicklow period property falls foul of planning rules. 

Last year, Hozier, whose full name is Andrew Hozier Byrne, lodged plans to construct ancillary accommodation to his main Oldfort home near Newcastle, Co Wicklow comprising a two bed, two storey detached guest lodge and gym and an adjacent double and single height structure with pitched and flat roofs, for a recreation space. Hozier has previously secured planning permission from the Council for a basement swimming pool and modern grass roof extension for the home that he purchased for €780,000. However, in a letter to the multi-award winning Take Me To Church singer-songwriter requesting revised plans and new reports, the Council has told him that it is unlikely to grant planning permission for the guest lodge.

Read the full article @ The Irish Independent

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Build first, ask later – 1000s are building without planning permission and getting away with it

 If anyone has carried out development without planning permission and now you need retention planning permission, please give BPS a call to discuss.

Thousands of people who carried out building works without planning permission have been granted retention approval by local authorities. 

An Irish Independent investigation lays bare the culture of “build now, ask later” with an analysis of figures provided by councils and a trawl of planning applications. Building first and asking for forgiveness later is an approach that has been adopted by at least 11,000 people since 2019.

Retention permission is sought after an unauthorised development has been built. More often than not, these applications are approved, according to data seen by this newspaperWhile some of the works were extremely minor, or involved a slight deviation from permission already granted, others have built huge extensions and one-off houses. Of the 1,260 retention applications made to Dublin City Council between 2019 and 2023, only 193 were refused.

Read the full article @ The Irish Independent 

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Krispy Kreme appeals Cork City Council's planning refusal for Patrick's Street store

 This was not a health based decision. 

Krispy Kreme has appealed against Cork City Council's decision to refuse permission for its location on St Patrick's Street in the city centre.

The retailer had sought retention permission from Cork City Council for a change of use from previous retail use to a cafe, as well as the retention of shopfront and signage at its branch on 42 Patrick’s Street.

The American doughnut chain opened the Patrick Street branch last April to great fanfare, as it eyed further expansion around the country.

It took out a 10-year lease on the ground floor only of Porter’s, which closed in October 2022. However, a council inspector examined the latest planning and said that the proposed use by Krispy Kreme would be contrary to the Cork City development plan.

Read the full article @ The Irish Examiner

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Bohemians call for quick allocation of Dalymount funds after council grants planning permission

 Bohemians have called on the Government to “rapidly allocate funding” for Dalymount Park as the longer a pile of rubble remains around the Jodi and Mono stands, the more expensive the project will cost. Planning permission has been granted by Dublin City Council (DCC), the proprietor of the iconic ground, but demolition and rebuilding an 8,034 capacity stadium in Phibsborough cannot begin until the central funds are released to cover at least 70 per cent of overall costs. That figure is edging ever closer to €50 million despite initial plans aiming to spend €35 million redeveloping a new home for Bohs and Shelbourne.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times 

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Plans for 14-storey apartment block on site of 1916 Rising leader’s former home in Dublin

 Plans for a 14-storey apartment block have been submitted for the site of 40 Herbert Park, the former home of Michael Joseph O’Rahilly, the only leader to have been killed fighting during the 1916 RisingDerryroe Ltd, a company owned by the McSharry and Kennedy families, who own the Herbert Park Hotel, demolished the Ballsbridge house in controversial circumstances in September 2020, when it was under consideration for addition to the Record of Protected Structures (RPS). Dublin City Council took legal action against Derryroe and construction firm Pembroke Place Developments for “unauthorised demolition” of the house. The case was settled in November 2022 when Pembroke Place Developments accepted noncompliance with planning permission and was ordered to pay €3,000 to charity to avoid a court conviction.

Read the full article @ The Irish Times

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