01 Oct Dillon calls for student accommodation to feature in County Development Plan
– Department of Housing circular issued last Friday night to the Local Authority Chief Executives seeking prioritisation of student accommodation;
– Circular points to the critical need for purpose-built student accommodation to be available to meet the needs of students in third level education;
– Student accommodation should now feature in draft County Development Plan before it is finalised and maximise advantages for GMIT Mayo campus as Technical University application progresses.
Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Alan Dillon, has called on Mayo County Council to include supporting the provision of student accommodation in the draft Mayo County Development Plan before it is finalised. Last week, the Dept of Housing, Local Government and Heritage issued a circular to all Local Authority Chief Executives. The circular pointed to the critical need for purpose-built student accommodation to be available to meet the needs of students in higher and further education.
Deputy Dillon said: “Our students are facing significant difficulties in securing student accommodation and more needs to be done to ensure availability of purpose-built accommodation. This is not a problem unique to Castlebar and is much more significant in our large cities, but I feel Castlebar is well placed to ensure an availability of supply. Accommodation such as Nephin Halls and Hawthorn Village worked well in the past. One advantage for Castlebar can be ensuring the availability of supply of student accommodation and this should be featured in the County Development Plan to provide future guidance on development.”
Deputy Dillon concluded: “While the draft Mayo County Development Plan mentions GMIT and their application for Technological University status, it does not mention the one issue facing students at present which is access to purpose-built student accommodation. I want Castlebar to be poised to gain maximum benefit from the application currently being considered for a Technological University for the West and North-West. However, our plans at a local level must also reflect the demand for student accommodation and ensure such necessary infrastructure is primed for development.”