Dublin mayor voices her surprise at co-living development getting green light following ban
DUBLIN’S Lord Mayor has said she was surprised to see a builder being granted planning permission for a co-living development on the site of Kiely’s pub in Donnybrook considering a ban on such developments has been signed into law.
Dublin City Council granted permission for the project subject to certain conditions, but Lord Mayor Hazel Chu, who had objected to the development, has said she would like to see the matter go before An Bord Pleanála.
The ban on co-living developments, where residents share some living space, was signed into law on December 22 last.
And while Westridge applied for its planning permission before that date, Hazel Chu said in her opinion the development should not have been given the green light because construction had not yet started on it.
“The ban should mean that no co-living development should be built after that date, not just ones that are applied for after that date,” Ms Chu told the Irish Independent.
“If a decision has been made that such accommodation models are not suitable then why should we allow any to be built if they have not already been started?” she asked.
“We do have a lack of supply of housing, and we do need to build more homes, and that can include this site, but we need to build good-sized units for individuals and families and I don’t think the co-living model provides that,” she added.
“And the Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that such a model is not suitable in the future either,” said Ms Chu.
Councillor and former Lord Mayor Dermot Lacey said he would also like to see the matter go before An Bord Pleanála, and he is aware of plans by a local group in Donnybrook to prepare such an application.
“The developer might have the upper hand in relation to the law, in that they applied for permission before the law banning such future developments came into place,” he said.
“But An Bord Pleanála is obliged to follow Government policy on matters, so the minister may have some input,” he added.
“I’m not actually opposed to co-living on a certain level, and I think there is room for a debate on it, but on the scale proposed for this site it is too much,” said Mr Lacey.
“On the scale that the developer proposes it is not ‘housing’, it is a proposal to aid the developer rather than the local community. I am in favour of housing, and a four-storey building with maybe 20 apartments would be more suitable for this site,” he added.
Dublin City Council gave the scaled-down plan by Westridge the green light despite more than 100 objections being lodged against it.
Westridge bought the landmark pub for more than €5m in 2019.
The original plan was for a seven-storey development of 100 shared living units.
But revised plans lodged in response to council concerns over the scale of the project included a reduction in the height to six storeys and the number of shared living units to 91.
In its decision however, the council has ordered that the number of shared living units be reduced to 85, and that all of the rooms have a minimum width of 3m which will lead to the omission of more shared living units from the proposal.
The planner in the case stated that the council has included this condition after the developer “failed to increase the width of the rooms to a level which is considered to provide for a reasonable quality of residential amenity”.
The council stated that the developer’s proposed size of the shared living units was “restricted”.