Student accommodation converting to other uses


This was predicted on the Pin previously (I cannot find the exact topic) - didn’t think it would happen so soon…

An application has been lodged for the partial occupation of a student accommodation block in Newcastle for the purpose of tourist and visitor use temporarily.

The proposal is led by NTM ROI Seed Capital and concerns the student block site located at the former Westwood Hotel in Upper Newcastle.

The application seeks to temporarily alter a condition of approval so that part of the accommodation could be used by tourists from September until the end of May next year.


So this is the first indicator (officially at least) that the students will not be coming back in any significant way this autumn. Will be interesting to see if the application is granted. Looks like there will be a bloodbath in the tourism market in the autumn as the hotels and Short Term Lets will also be in the mix for whatever tourists are out there.


Where are the tourists going to come from?

By that it seems a lot of work for potentially zero return in terms of tourist numbers.


Not limited to tourists

“tourist and visitor use”.

FG/FF won’t abolish direct provision anytime soon, regardless of what they tell the Greens.


You would have to think some of the newer developments in Dublin will be flipped as well. Would make a serious dent in homeless figures if they can be converted for such use.


Paradox: the pandemic will resolve our housing crisis while bringing construction to a standstill.

It might even solve homelessness as we have come to know it, though (sadly) real poverty may increase.


More detail below - this would make a mockery of the SHD planning process, which was specific to student accommodation…

The permission by An Bord Pleanála was subject to 14 conditions at the time.

Condition 2 of the Board’s decision stipulated that “The proposed development hereby permitted shall only be occupied as student accommodation, in accordance with the definition of student accommodation provided under section 13(d) of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act 2016, and shall not be used for any other purpose without a prior grant of planning permission for change of use.”

An application has now been made to vary condition 2 of the grant of planning permission to allow limited use of the development for tourist accommodation.

The developer seeks permission to “permit partial occupation of the permitted student accommodation for tourist and visitor use” from September 2020 to May 2021.


Surely this will happen here as well.


Even before Covid I was struggling to see how they were going to be able to fill all the rooms at the rates they are looking to charge.


Post Covid Universities are going to have to change the way they teach
Crammed lecture halls are a thing of the past
Foreign students paying 10s of thousands are a thing of the past
Large groups of students sharing accommodation are a thing of the past
I expect to see a surge in MON -Fri room rentals in private houses as
A ) Safer for the student
B) Income for those under pressure due to job loss/tax hikes /Wage reductions


Excellent, candid analysis from the frontline of US education.


During the summer many of the Dublin student accom blocks are subcontracted out to management company for short term tourist lets. Cant see any way they didnt make a killing last couple of years with tourist saturation.


Colleges looking like they are not going to have students back more than 50% when they KO this year. How many parents will fork out big rents for this level of attendance.

UCD, for example, says it expects most undergraduate students will be in classrooms for around 40-60 per cent of the normal schedule.

Maynooth University says most students will be on campus for 50 per cent of the normal timetable.



Report on RTE this evening said Queens are chartering a flight to fly Chinese students directly from Beijing to Belfast for the start of the academic year ie its the onky way they feel they are likely to travel due to peoples fear of moving through airports etc.

At what point do these kids parents begin to question paying 60k per annum tuition fees for a product that can be provided just as easiily online (as evidenced by plans to cut classrom time by 40 to 60 percent) without the need to fork out for Irish rents and the rest?


For wealthy Asians - it’s not about the education - it’s primarily about getting good English but also it’s about the introduction to Western culture, a hop-off point for a Grand Tour of Europe (photos to send home to the parents), a chance to make contacts for the future (or better still a Western spouse) and maybe even get a permanent job here. For the kind of money that the Asian elites have a couple of hundred grand is nothing.


Landlords in the likes of Limerick, Galway and the IT towns such as Sligo, Carlow etc going to be absolutely hammered in the coming academic year. There will be a lot of casualties out of this and it has to impact house prices in those smaller urban centres


True for the wealthier end who are generally attending Smurfit or RCSI etc but plenty also struggling to get the money together to spend a few years in Carlow or Waterford. Some other private colleges who focus massively on the foreign market suchbas NCI Dublin must be bricking it. Remains to be seen what happens in these cases.


On the other hand

Record number of school leavers apply for a place at university despite the impact of social distancing on college life

School leavers have applied in record numbers to start university this autumn despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

Admissions service Ucas says a record 40.5 per cent of all UK 18-year-olds have applied, despite fears over the impact of social distancing on college life.

By June 30, 281,980 school leavers were looking for places, a small rise from 275,520 last year despite a reduction in the population aged 18.

Nick Hillman of the Higher Education Policy Institute said: 'The appetite for higher education continues to grow –and it’s not surprising, given that the alternative options, like finding a secure job, will be worse this year.'

However, would-be students can ask to defer their studies at any point in the application cycle and if there is a second wave of Covid-19 or more local lockdowns in the months to come, then the number of actual enrolments may yet plummet.

Ucas chief executive Clare Marchant said the figures were ‘very encouraging’ but the situation was ‘fragile’.


Absence of gap year/travel options?


Nothing beats attending college.
It’s simply not the same experience otherwise.

College is far more than just the course you are taking.
It is about the social aspect, opening you up to new people, places, opinions & morals etc.
It’s about living on your own for the first time. Paying bills. Learning to get along with roommates and assuming adult responsibilities.

If it retrenches to 3 or 4 years of sitting at home listening to some lectures online, then the whole essence is lost.
You may as well just extend secondary school by 3 years.

The work life that college prepares you for isn’t about some paper degree.
It’s about making contacts and connections.
Knowing how to interact with others.
It’s about people.

That’s what college is about.