There’s a planning application to convert commercial/office space on Thomas Street to AirBnB-style short-stay apartments.

In essence, I think the plans to change from office to accommodation are positive, but regular housing (for rent or purchase) would be preferable and more in line with city policy – especially given Ireland’s housing shortage.

UPDATE: Dublin City Council has rejected the application, largely on the same grounds as below.

My short planning observation is below. All planning documents are here, observations can be made until the 12th of April 2023.

I am writing in relation to planning application 3347/23, which seeks approval to build four short-stay apartments at 76 Thomas Street.

Built in 1868, the beautiful building is rightly listed. Based on a brief examination, the plans to improve the structure seem welcome: the building is clearly underused and could do with some sensitive improvements.

The plan to move away from commercial use seems reasonable, given the relative underuse of the building. Such a change would be in line with the city development plan, which specifically calls for a variety of uses in an area such as this (the site is zoned Z5: City Centre).

However, planners should be satisfied that the four units could not, instead, be developed for standard housing (for rent or purchase), rather than short-stay accommodation. The units range from 68 to 72 sq metres, which are well in excess of the city development plan minimum sizes for studios (37 sq m) or one-beds (45 sq m).

If there is some reason why the units cannot be developed as permanent accommodation, this should be clearly stated and justification given. Without such justification, I believe section 15.14.3 of the development plan would apply:

15.14.3 Short Term Tourist Rental Accommodation

There is a general presumption against the provision of dedicated short term tourist rental accommodation in the city due to the impact on the availability of housing stock.

Applications for Short Term Tourist Rental Accommodation will be considered on a case by case basis in certain locations that may not be suitable for standard residential development such as tight urban sites where normal standards or residential amenity may be difficult to achieve. Applications may also be considered in locations adjacent to high concentration of night / time noisy activity where standard residential development would be unsuitable.

– Dublin City Development Development Plan 2022-2028 (link)

In short, planners should be satisfied that this site is not suitable for standard residential development before approving its use as a short-term let.