Green light for TCD accommodation despite complaints of 'urinating' students

An Bord Pleanála has given the green light for 358 new student bed spaces at Trinity Hall, in spite of residents’ complaints over alleged late-night drunken and rowdy behaviour by students.

The appeals board has granted planning permission to Trinity College Dublin (TCD) for a large extension of student accommodation at Trinity Hall at Dartry, in a number of blocks rising to seven storeys in height.

There are already 995 bed spaces on site and the proposal will increase the number to 1,283. The college is aiming to commence construction on the project next year, in spite of the impact of Covid-19 on the third level sector.

A spokesman for TCD stated on Friday: “Demand for student accommodation is forecast to remain strong and this development will add to Trinity College’s stock of affordable quality student accommodation when completed. Construction work could start in 2021 with construction completion in 2023.”

He stated that “Trinity is delighted that permission has been granted for all elements of the project and is happy with the conditions included in the grant of permission, having had due regard to all of the submitted observations.”

Drunken students

The plan faced strong opposition from locals, who allege that drunken students leaving the existing student residence urinate, vomit, scream and shout.

Residents of Temple Rd, Dartry, Martin and Mary Thornton alleged that the students’ “drunken and disorderly behaviours" included "singing and screaming at the top of their voices, drinking and urinating in public, smashing glass bottles and walking in the centre of the road with total disregard for their own or others’ safety”.

The Thorntons told the appeals board that considering "the high concentration of third level students already in this small residential area of Dartry, we believe that the proposal to increase student numbers by over a third is totally unacceptable”.

In another objection, Myles Lee and Louise Lee stated that the area is a quiet residential one “and we already suffer significant disturbance from the student body, activity and vibrancy on the part of such a large cohort belong[ing] in Temple Bar or Harcourt Street”.

Screaming, shouting, urinating on the street and a trail of empty cans and bottles are typical features of this night time exodus.

The Lees stated that they suffer significant noise and nuisance on a regular basis between 10.30pm and 11.30pm due to the large numbers of drunken students exiting Trinity Hall and heading to the local Luas stop.

They stated: “Screaming, shouting, urinating on the street and a trail of empty cans and bottles are typical features of this night time exodus."

However, the board inspector in the base Lorraine Dockery stated that “many of the matters raised in relation of anti-social behaviour/disruption/littering within the public realm are a matter for An Garda Siochana, outside the remit of this planning application”.

Ms Dockery stated that “a Student Accommodation Management Plan has been submitted with the application”.

Ms Dockery stated that she had no information to lead her to believe that the noise and footfall from the proposed development would be excessive.

She stated: “Trinity Hall management have extensive experience in managing the existing complex and I am satisfied that the issue of student management can be adequately dealt with by means of condition.”

Granted

In granting planning permission, the appeals board stated that the proposed development “would constitute an acceptable scale of development in this urban location, would not seriously injure the residential or visual amenities of the area or of property in the area and would not detract from the character and setting of any protected structure or conservation area”.

Consultants for TCD told An Bord Pleanála that the proposal will “deliver and operate a best in class student residential scheme at Trinity Hall”.

They stated that the proposal will compliment and enhance the existing student residences on site and provide well designed living accommodation to facilitate learning and social development.