Housing charity hits out at controversial co-living proposals

Housing charity hits out at controversial co-living proposals
Threshold CEO, John Mark McCafferty

Housing charity Threshold has hit out at co-living proposals following An Bord Pleanála's decision to block one of the controversial developments.

The planning board rejected a plan to build more than 200 co-living units in Tallaght ruling that they would not provide an "acceptable living environment".

Co-living accommodation provides en-suite bedrooms to tenants with shared, communal living areas.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy was criticised recently after he described this type of accommodation as an "exciting" choice for young working professionals.

“This is a generation that has a different approach to things; they will sacrifice certain things for others, as we all did when we were younger," Mr Murphy told a Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland and Department of Housing conference last month.

But Threshold today said the model is effectively student accommodation for young professionals.

"The phrase co-living conjures up cosiness but the reality of what developers are planning is industrial in scale," said Threshold CEO, John Mark McCafferty.

The charity described the ratio of co-living units to shared communal spaces as “a sticking point".

"How many of these interactive spaces are available? It's one thing to be a student passing through. But if you are going to be living there for many years co-living will be very limited in facilitating your life path.

"There is a lot of talk of affordable rental but what we are seeing in terms of planning permissions is co-living. Many argue there is a place for co-living but our question is where is the place for affordable rental?" he told RTE Radio’s News at One.

Batra Capital had sought to develop the co-living accommodation which would consist of 40 co-living units on each floor with a kitchen/living area, cinema and library for residents to use.

But An Bord Pleanála said the application would "fail to provide an acceptable living environment," and found that there was "notable shortfall in the provision of sufficient communal facilities".

Local residents group, Tallaght Community Council, which had objected to the development, said it was "absolutely delighted" with the decision.

"An Bord Pleanála said there was no coherent plan for the redevelopment of the industrial estate. We have planning in Tallaght with no plan - that's crazy," said Gerard Stockil, spokesperson for TCC.

"While there is room for shared living as part of an overall solution, the version we have got at the moment isn't suitable.

"The sequence should be publish the plan, ensure high tech jobs, build ordinary housing and then come back to shared living when all that is done. This is cart before the horse planning."

A Department of Housing spokesperson said: "The Department is satisfied that the co-living guidelines are robust and we will continue to monitor the sector."

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