Dublin City University (DCU) has applied for planning permission for the construction of  new student accommodation, which will include 1,240-bed spaces to be added to the existing 1,441-bed spaces across the three academic campuses. A spokesperson for DCU has also confirmed that ‘the University is also considering adding to the existing accommodation on the St Patrick’s Campus.’ According to the plan, an additional 990 beds will be allocated to the Glasnevin campus.

If the plan is approved, the report proposes to construct seven blocks ranging from five to ten storeys which will ‘accommodate 213 cluster units’. Each unit is set to contain from 3 to 7 ensuite bedrooms with a shared kitchen and living room area per unit. The units combined will offer approximately 1,240 beds.  

Each housing block will have a ‘cosy space’ where comfortable seating will be provided ‘where people can engage in leisure activities from gaming to knitting and reading to napping’. Gathering spaces will be ‘distributed throughout the development.’ According to the report, these spaces would contain ‘a pool table, ping pong and football table.’ There will be one common space located in ‘Block V6’, and this is where the laundry and café are to be located.

The new complex will increase the number of bike racks, allowing space for a total of 620 bikes. 

The report also included additional retail spaces to be constructed inside the sports complex, moving the management offices to within the new complex. 

DCU is seeking to demolish the current Larkfield accommodation which currently provides 240 beds to students at the university. The College View, DCU’s student newspaper of record, reported that “one apartment in Larkfield currently costs €5,665 for the academic year.” 

With the demolition of the Larkfield residences, approximately 123 parking spaces would be removed. However according the College View, a new basement parking is included in the plan to increase the overall car spaces to 176, “of which five will be disabled parking. Only 5.4 per cent of the increase in student accommodation are provided with a car parking space.” 

Speaking to the College View, USI Vice President of the Dublin Region Craig McHugh showed his concern over the loss of bed spaces between the demolition of the Larkfield residences and the opening of the new complex. He told the paper: “There’s a price to pay when you knock down student accommodation.”

The Larkfield accommodation was built in the late eighties. The planning report states that ‘upgrading the buildings were not considered to represent a sustainable option’ and that ‘any future redevelopment becomes logistically challenging and disruptive once the remaining lands were developed.’ Additionally, due to issues with structure and providing adequate sunlight, they felt it would be in the best interests by demolishing the existing building and in starting anew. 

The report also states that ‘a new Student Residence Management Office and a retail services/café/education unit’, will be built on the site. The report details a range of amenity spaces proposed for the accommodation. These have been described as ‘cosy’, ‘gathering’ and ‘common spaces’. 

The project has been designed to be built in phases, should that be necessary, due to funding and ‘site constraints’. A spokesperson for DCU has confirmed that they will be ‘examining options for the phasing of the development to bring beds on-line before the demolition of Larkfield.’

According to the Irish Independent, the project will be funded by loan finance. DCU is seeking ten-year planning permission to finish the project. Particulars relating to how much this will cost has not yet been confirmed for the new site, but DCU is ‘very conscious that there is a need not just for additional student accommodation but affordable accommodation.’ 

Speaking to the College View, ‘the secretary of DCU’s sustainability society, Ríonach Hurley said the sustainable aspects of the plans were ‘a really good idea’.’

““If we’re building new, we might as well build sustainably and incorporate more sustainable practises into the building… things like solar panels and using rainwater as wastewater, that’s a really good idea,” said Hurley.”

An Bord Pleanála is due to decide the case by the 9th of January 2020.