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'Overall residential quality' among the concerns Dublin City Council has about Jervis co-living plans

Dublin City Council has requested additional information from the applicants to address a number of matters with the proposed development.

The planned development would sit above the current shopping centre site.
The planned development would sit above the current shopping centre site.
Image: Manahan Planners/DCC

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL has requested additional information from applicants hoping to build a co-living development atop Jervis Street Shopping Centre, with one issue cited by the council being “concerns in relation to the overall residential quality” of the co-living units. 

In March, JSC Properties Ltd submitted a planning application to the council for the development in the city centre.

The proposal would see the demolition of part of the retail area and car park on site to make way for the mostly 18 square metre co-living spaces that would have common areas, lounges, a gym, kitchens, laundry and an “amenity open space”. The plan includes provision for 127 co-living spaces.

In May, Sinn Féin’s Housing Spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin told TheJournal.ie that he opposed such developments, and said this application was “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.”

While the previous Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy had indicated as recently as May that co-living guidelines would not be “reviewed” in light of the Covid-19 crisis, the new Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said that a Commission on Housing would be established under this government to review – among other things – co-living.

Jervis plans

Planners for the Jervis Street proposal said in documents to the council that it would create “an exciting, vibrant mixed-use development that will supply attractive facilities to patrons and will contribute positively to the continuing enhancement of this part of Dublin’s north inner city, both in terms of footfall and improving the visual amenities of the area”. 

The development would involve three uses, all located above the existing shopping centre.

The first would see 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.

The second 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 co-living unit would be spread over six floors, with the minimum sizes for single rooms at 12 square metres and for double rooms at 18 square metres.

Planners said that a “key feature of successful co-living schemes internationally is the provision of wider recreation and leisure facilities” as part of the development. Under these plans, each person would have 11.8 square metres of communal space. 

In its initial decision in response to the planning application, Dublin City Council said it required additional information on nine separate facets of the application before it could move forward. 

It asks for a specific breakdown and justification for the loss of retail units on Mary Street. In light of a third-party submission, the applicants are also asked to clarify what effect – if any – this development would have on the re-development of the adjoining Marks and Spencer.

Dublin City Council said: “The Planning Authority would maintain concerns in relation to the overall residential quality of the proposed co-living units. Accordingly the applicant is requested to provide a breakdown of the number of persons to the accommodated within each room, and the quantum both internal and external communal amenity space would be provided per resident.

The applicant is requested to demonstrate that these rooms would have an acceptable level of visual privacy.

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The council also expressed concerns about the quality of the build-to-rent units, the impact on sunlight on nearby properties and also asked for clarity on issues around car parking. 

The applicant must submit the information required to the council before a final decision on approving or rejecting the planning application can be made. 

While opposition politicians have repeatedly voiced their opposition to co-living as a concept – particularly now in the context of Covid-19 – there was no specific commitment on such developments in the programme for government. 

cabinet 262 New Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien. Source: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

In response to a parliamentary question this week from Sinn Féin’s Paul Donnelly on the new minister’s plans to change co-living regulations in light of Covid-19, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien said:

“The new Programme for Government, identifies the need to avoid over-concentration of particular housing types in areas, by requiring local authorities to complete housing need and demand assessments to inform delivery of an appropriate mix of housing typologies to cater for the needs of disparate household types and sizes.

Further to this, my Department will continue to monitor the operation of the Sustainable Urban Housing Guidance with regard to co-living, which will also be informed by the work of a Commission on Housing that will be established under the Programme for Government, to examine issues that will include tenure, standards, sustainability and quality of life in the provision of housing.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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