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Bartra Capital
Green Light

Controversial Dún Laoghaire co-living development granted permission by An Bord Pleanála

Bartra Capital’s CEO said the company will implement conditions outlined by the planning body.

AN BORD PLEANÁLA has granted planning permission for a controversial co-living development in Dún Laoghaire, south Dublin.

There was opposition to Bartra Capital Property Group’s plans for the five-floor development, which included 208 studio dwellings with communal kitchens shared between more than 40 people.

The proposed rent for these rooms was €1,300 per month. 

The plan was described as “Dickensian” and rooms were compared to bedsits as the beds will fold up into the walls to save space. 

Today the company confirmed An Bord Pleanála has granted permission with a number of conditions attached.

CEO Mike Flannery said the board had recognised “that there is a place for co-living within the Irish housing market”.

“Ireland needs new models of housing to cater for changing demographics, living habits and employment patterns. Co-living is one such response to these changes.

It is a form of accommodation targeted specifically at single professionals who do not want a single room apartment and has worked well in other cities including London, New York and Vienna.

Flannery said the group will proceed with the development and implement all conditions outlined by An Bord Pleanála.

Biglolly Ltd / Vimeo

The company did not provide detail on the conditions set down by the planning body but it is likely that it will have to reduce the number of dwellings in the development. 

Last month the planning body refused Barta’s application for another co-living development in Tallaght.

In its decision the board said the co-living spaces would “fail to provide an acceptable living environment”and pointed to a “notable shortfall” in the provision of sufficient communal facilities.

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said he was “shocked” today to hear what he described as a “disgraceful plan” had been approved. 

He said these types of developments are “not about solving the housing crisis but exploiting it for profit”.

“I am utterly disgusted that this development has been given the go ahead by An Bord Pleanala,” he said,

“These box rooms with pull out beds will have zero impact on the housing crisis and will only mean more unaffordable, inadequate places to sleep for people.

Inevitably the box rooms will become modern day tenements and the only people to benefit will be the greedy developers who are only interested in exploiting the housing crisis rather than solving it.

“What we need in central Dún Laoghaire is decent quality, affordable and public homes for those currently paying extortionate rents and those on the waiting lists.”

Earlier this month Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy was criticised for suggesting co-living spaces are like “a very trendy” boutique hotel. He later acknowledged that this analogy “wasn’t a good one”.

His department has received multiple written complaints from members of the public over previous comments he made that co-living spaces are an “exciting” choice to young workers.

“I wonder if you would be willing to reside in these ‘hubs’ yourself? I doubt it very much,” one person wrote to the Minister.

Another person said Murphy’s comments are “an absolute insult to the intelligent smart generation working in our capital city”.

When asked for a comment today, Murphy’s department said: “The Minister nor the department comments on individual planning applications/decisions. The enforcement of the planning code is a matter for individual local authorities.”

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