Plans resubmitted for Limerick student accommodation

Computer generated image of the proposed Punches Cross development.

FOLLOWING its rejection by the High Court, a planning application for 30 build-to-rent apartments and 326 student-bed spaces at Punches Cross in Limerick City has been re-submitted to An Bord Pleanála.

The planning appeals board approved the initial application from Kerry-based Cloncaragh investments in August 2021 but this was overturned by the High Court following a judicial review last October.

Upholding a submission made by Environmental Trust Ireland, Mr Justice David Holland highlighted an underlying concern with the proposed development.

This related to the discharge of on-site pollutants to groundwater which could adversely impact the Lower Shannon River special area of conservation.

The judge said he was quashing the permission “by reason of the planning board’s failure to circulate the Environmental Trust Ireland submission to the planning authority in a timely manner”.

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The ruling was welcomed by Environmental Trust Ireland president and Limerick solicitor Michelle Hayes, who said she’d been highlighting environmental issues and other matters since the first planning application was submitted for the site in 2019.

When the proposals were first mooted, the nearby Mary Immaculate College said it welcomed a development of this nature “which recognises the lack of supply of student beds in the vicinity”.

At the time of initial approval last year, An Bord Pleanála said the proposed development would be “in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

Planners said the proposals would “help to alleviate some degree of pressure on those seeking student accommodation”.

An Bord Pleanála is due to decide on the re-submitted application next March.