Dublin 7 residents object to 280-bed co-living development

by Rachel Darcy

Over 140 people have signed a petition objecting to the development of a co-living development on Upper Dominick Street.

An application for the 280-bed co-living development at Hendron’s Building on Upper Dominick Street has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala.

Now, 145 residents of the areas surrounding the proposed site in Dublin Central have signed a petition in support of an objection to the plans, created by Workers’ Party representative Eilis Ryan.

The observation lodged also makes note of the current Covid-19 pandemic, citing that co-living in the context of a global health emergency could be a public health risk. It also notes a high level of short-term purpose-built accommodation already in existence in the Dublin 7 locality.

The objection was submitted to An Bord Pleanala on Tuesday evening, with Ryan saying the proposed development contravenes the policy introduced by Housing Minister Darragh O’Brien to prohibit co-living projects such as this.

Resident concern

Ryan said: “The Minister for Housing has made clear his intention to rescind the regulations which permit co-living, where small individual rooms are rented and common facilities shared. This application flies in the face of these stated intentions and should be viewed as opportunistic.

“Furthermore, the application’s ‘Shared Accommodation Demand Report’ is unsatisfactory because it claims the development will provide affordable housing, when all the evidence is that co-living is totally unaffordable.

“Rooms in the nearby similar co-living development at Highfield House are currently advertised with rates beginning at €230 per person per week (€920/month). This is far in excess of the current market rent for a single room in a shared accommodation in the area.”

Residents in the Dublin 7 area are concerned about the development, Ryan says, and want to see community amenities and ‘genuinely’ affordable housing prioritised for the locality.

‘Unsuitable accomodation’

Senator Fintan Warfield (SF) also objected to the plans for the development, referring to co-living developments as ‘tenement style living’.

Speaking after lodging an objection to An Bord Pleanála, Senator Warfield said: “Having opposed co-living developments in Harold’s Cross and the Liberties in recent months, my reasons for doing so remain the same.

“Co-living is unsuitable accommodation in the Covid-19 era, it drives up the cost of land in the surrounding area and amounts to tenement style living whitewashed with corporate blurb about new ways of living.

“The proposed development at Hendron’s was made two weeks before the ban on co-living came into effect.

“This was allowed to happen because Minister Darragh O’Brien announced a ban on co-living on 22 November but refused to state if this would apply to current applications or to any application that might be made until the ban was put into legislation.

“The Statutory Instrument was not signed until December 23. That gave a full month for developers to submit new co-living applications or to amend current applications.

“This proposal has been made to ‘sweat the asset’ and take as much money as possible from renters for smaller spaces.

“It has been enabled by the Minister for Housing who took a full month to sign the regulation that gave legal effect to the ban on co-living.

“My objection urges An Bord Pleanála to reject this proposal. There must be proper affordable and social housing built in the inner city.”

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