Despite strongly worded criticism from Dartry residents, Dublin City Council has given Trinity permission to rent out Trinity Hall to tourists over the summer, as well as to non-Trinity students during term time.
The proposal to Dublin City Council, which was approved this month, saw Trinity request permission to use the Dartry campus as residences for tourists, creating an important new source of revenue for the college.
Significantly, the approval also means that Trinity will be allowed to host non-Trinity students in Halls.
With a capacity of nearly 1,000, Trinity will now have Dublin City Council’s blessing to rent rooms in the student accommodation development outside of term time. College’s on-campus accommodation has already proved consistently attractive to tourists
The proposal faced significant opposition and in reams of written submissions, Dartry residents criticised College and the Trinity Hall residents. In one submission, a local resident said: “Residents in the Hall can act with impunity, safe in the knowledge that the revenue they provide is more important than the rights of their neighbours.”
Numerous submissions question the college’s ability to cope with noise levels and the student population as it is, let alone tourists. One submission raised concerns about the potential for “stag” and “hen” parties using Halls outside of term time, which have “blighted” other parts of the city.
Another asked: “Are the big boy universities going to be allowed to bully the local residents and An Bord Pleanala again?”
In total, 20 letters were sent by people from the local area, with many citing similar objections related to noise levels and high levels of alcohol consumption.
Trinity Hall just skirts one of the most expensive streets in Dublin, a position that has caused tensions between Halls residents and Temple Rd homeowners over the years. Indeed, many residents claimed that Trinity had for years been breaching the conditions of its planning permission, with tourists already hosted on the site and noise levels above what was initially agreed.
Over the last several years, Trinity has significantly developed its approach to commercialisation – opening new restaurants, attracting tourists and promoting its accommodation.
College also applied for permission to use parts of Trinity Hall to host a summer language school. This application was also submitted in 2011 and it was rejected both then and now on the basis that using the accommodation as classrooms would be a change in use of the building.