Below is an observation I submitted against a co-livng plan for the Carrigan’s Pub site on Old Kilmainham. I would like to see the site developed for housing for rent or purchase, but think that co-living is a bad housing model.

Update: Dublin City Council rightly rejected the application in March 2021. You can read their five reasons why here. Frustratingly, An Bord Pleanala overturned this decision in June 2022, and the plan was granted permission. No new co-living applications are possible since a government decision in 2021.

I am writing in relation to planning application 4009/20 – a proposal for a co-living/shared accommodation scheme at 72-74, Old Kilmainham, Dublin 8.

I believe the application should be rejected in totality for, among others, the reasons below:

Model of housing

This model is incompatible with the city development plan standards and such accommodation has rightly been recently been advised against by government policy.

Co-living was conceived as a niche form of development, but as a model is being overdeveloped in the area. Other co-living developments seeking or with permission in the Dublin 8 area include:

  • 113-115 Cork Street
  • The Collective on Fumbally Lane
  • John Street South

This, combined with the increase in purpose-built student accommodation, would represent and overconcentration of small-room, lower-standards developments in the area.

In particular, planners should take account of these development’s suitability during future pandemics, as the close quarters of living would make compliance with government public health policy impossible.

Suitability of site for intended density

An unsuccessful application was rejected in 2015, on two grounds. One is no longer relevant due to zoning changes, but the other holds true. To quote from the planning decision (ref: 2737/15), bedrooms:

“…which face directly onto the public footpath and onto a street corner characterised by heavily traffic (Old Kilmainham/ Brookfield Road). The proposed development would result in homes severely and negatively affected by traffic, traffic noise and pollution with compromised security, which would be seriously injurious to the residential amenity of potential residents. Therefore, the proposed development is contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.”

Plot ratio

This site was rezoned from Z6 to Z1 to allow for residential development. That opens opportunity for residential development, but that rezoning also bring different requirements. One such requirement is a reduced plot ratio. Z1 developments in the development plan have an indicative plot ratio of 0.05-2.0. This development would be more than twice this maximum with a plot ratio of 4.77.

This, combined with the 95% development of the site represents an gross overdevelopment of the site, and one which is out of place in the area, and in contravention of the development plan’s plot ratios (to an extreme extent).

Inconsistencies with the application

The planners should take extra care to fully satisfy themselves that the application is thorough and fully complete, and fully compliant with requirements. There have been a number of rushed applications submitted in order to begin before the Minister’s legal block on these co-living developments.

In this application, for example, the planning report is clearly based on a different design for the development. It refers to 80 units (not 62) and a more diverse mix of units (60% two-beds, instead of the application’s 12%).

Construction and cafe deliveries

The construction management plan and the cafe make no provision for deliveries to the site, of which 95% will be developed. On a corner site on a busy-but-small road, this is not appropriate. A cafe would involve regular deliveries, which are not provided for.

In short, this is an unwelcome, overdeveloped application. The site should be developed, but as permanent housing, rather than a model which now runs contrary to government policy.