Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien has effectively banned co-living dwellings slammed as '21st-century bedsits'


Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien has announced that new co-living housing will be effectively banned across Ireland after it was introduced by his predecessor Eoghan Murphy.

n March 2018, Mr Murphy published design guidelines that would allow co-living apartment blocks to be built in the country- however, it received much criticism from the public and the opposition.

Many claimed the “trendy boutique hotels” that the then Housing Minister referred to them as were more like “21st-century bedsits” and “tenement dwellings”.

The proposed designs would see tenants have their own bedroom and ensuite bathroom but would share living spaces and a kitchen, similar to student accommodation.

The co-living apartments were aimed at young professionals who couldn’t afford their own place.

Before becoming Housing Minister, Fianna Fáil TD Mr O’Brien called the proposal of co-living flats “bonkers”.

In a statement released today, he announced that new co-living developments are effectively banned amid concerns that a high level of these dwellings are being planned.

This new ban will see co-living developments severely restricted and to get the go-ahead they would need Specific Planning Policy Requirement (SPPR) and permission from the local authority.

Mr O’Brien said: “I believe this is the correct decision and it is one I have come to following careful consideration.

“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.

“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 Housing Minister added that he believes more co-living permissions “will add to upward pressure on land prices.”

He added: “By allowing permissions to extract higher units of beds in a single development and combined with the higher than anticipated number of applications this has the potential to have negative repercussions for other development types such as an affordable purchase or cost rental that the Programme for Government is committed to promoting.

“Given the new nature of co-living developments, it is appropriate that we draw lessons from the existing permissions once they are built out in keeping with the review originally attached the idea in 2018.

“This should be complemented by the Department’s on-going work on Housings Demand and Needs assessment that will ascertain tenure type requirements on a granular basis in each Local Authority. This should be used to inform any future decisions on these types of developments.”

After it emerged last week that at current rates it would take three decades for Dublin City Council’s housing list to clear, the Minister said that his department will focus on social housing with the proposition that 12,750 will be delivered next year.

He said: “Our focus is on delivering social homes, 12,750 next year with a shift towards direct build. We will roll out a new affordable purchases scheme to support homeownership and a cost rental model as well as utilising a fully operational Land Development Agency.

“These are the core policy goals of the government that I am directing this department towards achieving.”

Online Editors

Source: Irish News