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A design imaged of the proposed building.
A design imaged of the proposed building.
Image: dublincity.ie

Council denies permission for 'objectionable' co-living development in Rathmines

Dublin City Council says the plans proposed too many occupants per floor sharing facilities.
Sep 17th 2019, 5:55 PM 18,728 36

RICHARD BARRETT’S BARTRA Capital has been refused planning permission for a seven storey 102 bed-space build-to-rent shared living residential development in Rathmines.

The firm was refused planning permission after the Dublin City Council planner in the case found ‘objectionable’ the level of shared facilities on each floor for the future occupants.

Plans lodged with the council showed that the apartment block included a single kitchen/living area per floor which were to cater for 13 to 18 residents per floor above the ground floor.

Recommending that planning permission be refused for the proposal at Ardee Rd, Rathmines, the planner stated: “the number of occupants per floor having access to just a single kitchen/living area is considered objectionable”.

Ninety two of the 102 bedroom units are single rooms of 16 sqm – four sqm above the recommended 12 sqm minimum contained in local government design guidelines.

The planner stated that the images of the rooms indicate that the bed and chairs would be required to be stored in order to use the room for living space.

The DCC planner stated that those living in these units “should be able to enjoy a permanent furniture layout for both living and sleeping”.

The planner stated that: “the proposed splitting of shower, toilet and sink facilities provides an inappropriate functional layout. In my opinion these facilities should be provided within a single ensuite within each room unit”.

In its decision, Dublin City Council found that the proposed bedroom units “would provide a poor standard of residential accommodation by virtue of their design, layout and orientation, in particular the internal configuration of the units”.

The council stated: “Furthermore, the number of future occupants per floor that would have access to a single kitchen/living area, would result in a substandard level of residential amenity.”

Shared-living

The decision follows Bartra securing planning for a shared-living 208 unit proposal at Eblana, Dun Laoghaire and an apartment block complex plan adjacent to broadcaster, Pat Kenny’s Dalkey home in July.

In an objection against the Rathmines plan, Green Party councillor Patrick Costello claimed that the housing proposal “is deeply sub-standard”.

Costello told the council: “I am concerned about a disturbing precedent being set which will encourage a race to the bottom in residential provision in this country.”

The overall design is poor and I am concerned that if approved this would result in the slowing down of the provision of much needed adequately sized homes.

The council also refused planning permission after concluding that the proposal “would constitute overdevelopment of the site and would have an excessively overbearing effect on adjoining properties.”

The council stated that the proposed development “would seriously injure the visual amenities of the streetscape and would have an adverse impact on the character of Rathmines”.

The decision to refuse follows the council refusing planning for a previous 105 bed-space shared living proposal at the site in November 2018.

In planning documents lodged with the council, consultants for Bartra, Thornton O’Connor Town Planning (TOCTP) stated that “shared living is generally utilised as a short-medium term, non-permanent accommodation model, which suits a range of people at certain stages of their life who need to remain mobile”.

TOCTP stated that: “the user market is generally recent and post-graduates, workers in Dublin on short to medium term contracts, for example, international employees of Facebook or Google, who are required to locate to Dublin for a short period of weeks or months; those saving for a deposit to purchase a home; seasonal accommodation or those involved in a relationship breakdown.”

The consultants further argued that the proposal “will play a significant role in addressing the current housing shortage by providing affordable living accommodation for employees in Dublin city”.

In relation to the planned bedroom units, TOCPC stated that the overall layout and scale of the proposed bedroom units will provide a high standard of accommodation for future occupants and that flexible room layout is the optimum arrangement for shared living bedrooms.

The consultants point out that the average room size is 33% large than the 12 sqm minimum prescribed.

TOCPC also argued that the number of occupants per floor utilising the communal living/kitchen/dining areas is suitable for the shared living scheme.

A spokesman for Bartra said it would await the council planner’s report before commenting on the decision.

He said, however, that the design approach is similar to the development which was granted permission by An Bord Pleanala in Eblana, Dun Laoghaire.

He said: “Bartra remain committed to co-living. Ireland needs new models of housing to cater for changing demographics, living habits and employment patterns,”

He added: “Co-living is a form of accommodation targeted specifically at single professionals who do not want single room apartments and has worked well in other cities including London, New York and Vienna.”

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Gordon Deegan

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