Significant city student accommodation development given green light after appeal

The former Railway Hotel.

A HIGH profile student development in the heart of Limerick City, which had been tied up in delays because of appeals, has been granted planning permission by An Bord Pleanála.

The development at the former Railway Hotel on Parnell Street had been granted permission previously by Limerick City and County Council back in June 2023 to be turned into accommodation for 116 students, but had since been appealed by An Taisce.

Now, the planning appeals board have granted permission for the development in the former hotel, which has been out of use for over a decade.

116 bed spaces will be created in the protected building, with development being granted by An Bord Pleanála (ABP) subject to 17 conditions.

As part of the granted permission, the neighbouring McEnery’s Store will be demolished, with a seven-storey building constructed on Davis Street/Davis Lane, a ground floor cafe, a launderette, and bicycle and bin storage facilities.

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The accommodation will be consist of six one-bed studio apartments, with 19 multi-bedroom apartments making up the bulk of the accommodation.

ABP said that the development as planned “would provide student accommodation at an acceptable scale and form at a suitable location” and that “the proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area”.

The development had been previously help up by objections from An Taisce, who cited the building’s proposed height, insufficient integration with cycle and pedestrian infrastructure, and the “proposed proportions of the windows” being “at odds with other major buildings in the area” as significant enough pain points to oppose the student accommodation.

Conditions imposed by the planning appeals board state that the details of the materials proposed to be used by the developers be submitted and agreed to by Limerick City and County Council in writing, that the development be used as student accommodation during the academic year and tourist accommodation during the summer and other holiday periods, and that the accommodation be managed and operated by a management company and have a student accommodation management plan be agreed in writing with the council.

The building was recently purchased by new owners, but it is understood that the new owners still plan to develop the former hotel as student accommodation as laid out in the plans.