A massive student accommodation project near Garrycastle has been given the green light by An Bord Pleanála
The planning council this week granted approval to Avenir Homes Ltd, subject to 28 conditions, for the project, billed as ‘The Green Quarter’, totaling up to 168 residential units.
The proposal includes a mixed-use residential development of 60 houses, 62 residential apartments and 46 student apartments which would include 283 student beds. The proposed student apartment buildings would rise to heights of up to five, six and seven stories.
The development is proposed on a site which includes parts of the townlands of Cartrontroy, Kilnafaddoge, Lissywollen and Ardnaglug, and which is located next to the Old Rail Trail Greenway and close to the ESB facility at Garrycastle.
The applicant, Avenir Homes Ltd, had applied for planning permission directly from the planning board through the Strategic Housing Development mechanism which allows proposals consisting of more than 100 residential units to bypass the planning application stage by local authorities.
In its decision signed on June 16, the planning council said it was satisfied that the development would not seriously impair the residential or visual amenities of the area or nearby properties and would be acceptable in terms of pedestrian safety and the circulation.
He said that in making this decision he had taken into account a range of factors, including the location of the site on the edge of the built-up area of Athlone, the policies and objectives of the various development plans, including Athlone Town Development Plan 2014.-2020 incorporating the Lissywollen South Master Plan 2018-2024 and reports from its own Planning Inspector and Westmeath County Council Chief Executive.
Council accepted that planning permission could contravene the residential density, building height and design objectives of the Athlone Town Development Plan.
However, the planning board used the powers given to it under the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act to grant permission in material breach of the development plans in certain circumstances.
He cited, among other reasons, the potential of the project to contribute to the realization of government policy aimed at increasing the supply of housing.