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Green light given for co-living scheme atop Dublin's Jervis Shopping Centre

The minister’s plans to ban co-living developments won’t apply to permissions sought prior to December.

The proposed development atop Dublin's Jervis Centre.
The proposed development atop Dublin's Jervis Centre.
Image: DCC

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has granted planning permission for a new development atop Jervis Shopping Centre in the city which will see the creation of over 120 co-living spaces.

This is despite the recent de-facto ban on such developments ordered by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien, as the planning application was submitted early last year. 

At the time in November, the minister said that the ban was the correct decision given the number of applications and permissions to date were “comparatively high in the international context”. 

Planners for the co-living spaces first submitted their plans to Dublin City Council last March. Dublin City Council requested additional information in the summer, before making its final decision last month. 

Speaking to TheJournal.ie back in May, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said this planning application is “further evidence why [co-living developments] should never be permitted under planning law”.

“That last thing we need in the city is co-living,” he said. “We need affordable accommodation for people who live and work in the city centre.”

One part of the planned development consists of a two-storey development above the corner of the centre bounded by Jervis Street and Abbey Street Upper. This would contain 20 one-bed apartments and four two-bed apartments.

A second aspect proposes to demolish part of the retail and car parking floor area on Mary Street and to construct in its place a six-storey building to be used as a co-living development. 

The 127 co-living units would be spread over six floors, with rooms ranging in size from between 17 square metres to 26 square metres. 

In the report from the Dublin City Council planning officer, it was recommended that permission be given.

The planner said the proposals would “constitute an appropriate development in this location that would not seriously injure the amenities of the area, property in the vicinity and would be acceptable in terms of urban design and impact on the surrounding protected structures”.

“The proposed development would, therefore, be in accordance with the proper planning and sustainable development of the area,” the planner added.

The approval of these proposals comes after developers submitted plans for around 2,700 co-living spaces prior to O’Brien announcing that such developments would be banned in future. Of these, around 740 spaces had already been approved prior to the approval of the Jervis Street development. 

The minister clarified in November that the ban will only apply to future developments as any “amendments to the planning guidelines could not be applied retrospectively”. 

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“I believe the number of applications and permissions to date are comparatively high in the international context. Given the unprecedented nature of these developments, I have concerns that the scale of the developments is moving away from the niche quantity of units the concept originally aimed for to a significantly larger role in the housing system,” O’Brien said. 

“I also believe the location of a substantial number of the potential co-living sites is not in keeping with the high density urban centres originally envisaged and that inappropriate locations away from the core city centre have undermined the concept.”

The Jervis Street development is one of a number for which planning permission was sought last year before the government proposed a ban.

Yetserday, Labour Senator Marie Sherlock said that the failure to retrospectively apply the ban to applications already in the planning system would have a damaging effect on communities, particularly in Dublin’s north inner city. 

She said: “The failure to retrospectively apply the “ban” to applications already in the planning system could mean that up to 1491 co-living beds could be approved within a 1.6km radius within residential communities in the north west inner city over the next 12months with another 102 shared accommodation units in the north east inner city in Foley Street.

“If these projects get the green light they will have a huge impact on the fabric of these communities. These are areas that are in desperate need of sustainable secure long-term housing and co-living facilities will not provide this.”

About the author:

Sean Murray

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