The proposed development will provide 24 en-suite rooms over three floors together, with a recreational lounge area of approximately 1,100 sqm.

Agri college green light for new student accommodation

Ballyhaise Agricultural College has secured planning permission to develop a new suite of student accommodation.

The three-storey accommodation block, comprising 24 en-suite bedrooms, received the green light from planners at Cavan County Council earlier this month.

Along with rooms, the accommodation project also includes living and kitchen facilities, a ground floor communal space, and ancillary accommodation, together with associated site works and services at Drumcrow, Ballyhaise.

The application to the council was submitted by TEAGASC, the Agricultural and Food Development Authority.

The existing college accommodation was built in the mid-1970s and is set for demolition once the new building is constructed.

According to the Design Statement submitted as part of the application, the college has over 800 students registered on courses, 40 staff, and a catchment area stretching across Cavan and Monaghan, as well as Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Meath, Louth, Westmeath and Longford.

On-site student accommodation has always been provided at the college for travelling students. The current accommodation, located in the walled garden of the campus, is described as “not fit for purpose”.

Rhatigan Architects designed the new accommodation in line with a Master Plan prepared for the campus in 2013. Developments so far include a campus-wide biomass heating system; a new dairy cubicle house; and the refurbishment of derelict buildings into classrooms.

A preplanning submission in relation to the project was submitted to the council back in August 2022.

A number of issues were subsequently raised including the repair of a wall, the visual impact of the proposed development, and concerns around a possible influx in student numbers.

An on-site meeting took place between senior planners and the project team in January 2023.

Further information, as requested, was submitted in February 2023..

The masterplan had a building in front of the sports hall/ gym, but the further information clarified that the new application proposes placing the accommodation at this location.

It also notes that the college has an existing laundry on campus in Blocks two and three, which are said to be in “very poor condition”. When these blocks are demolished, the college intends to provide a laundry at Block 1.

Blocks two and three are currently being used as emergency accommodation for refugees.

Planning was granted with a total of 11 conditions attached, to include that the developer will pay the council a contribution of €20,100, mitigation and monitoring will be employed during construction to avoid damage to the environment, and a record of all wastes will be maintained.