Concerns over purpose-built student housing in Dublin

Concern has been raised by business leaders about moves that could restrict the provision of badly-needed student accommodation in Dublin city centre.

Councillors will get a report from planning officials soon before voting on the proposal that could make it harder to get permission for purpose-built student housing.

Dublin City Council planning guidelines stipulate that applicants for new student accommodation scheme must show they will not create an over-concentration of such use within 250m.

However the proposal drafted by the council this summer, based on a request by elected members, would increase the size of the study area to a 1km radius.

The council’s planning and property development committee was told in February of an estimated shortfall of 16,000-18,000 bed spaces for the capital’s estimated 80,000 students. There were more than 9,000 beds in large purpose-built schemes in the council area at the time, with around 1,700 bed spaces under construction.

However, the report indicated that, of more than 5,800 bed spaces in around 20 purpose-built schemes to get planning permission since 2008, construction had not yet begun on more than 3,600 of them. The majority of those developments got planning approval in the past two years, with 1,000 bed spaces only clearing final planning stages in 2017.

Despite the large number of schemes still to begin construction, business organisation Ibec said the plan would undermine Dublin’s attractiveness as a city in which to live, study and work.

“At a time when students are excitedly accepting CAO offers, their next concern is access to quality, safe and affordable accommodation throughout their college life,” said Ibec senior policy executive Aidan Sweeney.

During a publication consultation last month, Dublin City Council said purpose-built student accommodation would continue to be supported in appropriate locations, but it would still aim to prevent over-concentrations in certain areas.

To coincide with CAO Round 2 offers, cutoff points for all courses offering places will be published in tomorrow’s Irish Examiner.

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