Controls on student housing ‘justified’ after ‘avalanche’ of student accommodation in parts of Dublin’s inner city

An ‘avalanche’ of student accommodation in parts of Dublin’s inner city justifies plans to impose tighter planning controls around such developments, a councillor has claimed.

Críona Ní Dhálaigh is supporting proposed changes to planning guidelines in the city council area, which would mean the existence of other student accommodation within a 1km-radius should be considered when new developments are being planned.

Applicants for student housing currently have to show on a map any such developments within 250m of where they want to build.

Dublin City Council said the changes it proposes would not restrict new schemes, despite the claims of business group Ibec and the Union of Students in Ireland.

In a report to councillors on feedback received on the proposals, senior council staff recommended the elected members back them.

A vote was to have taken place at last Monday’s council meeting, but was adjourned to be taken during a special council meeting that will consider local property tax rates on September 19.

Ms Ní Dhálaigh, a Sinn Féin former lord mayor, said she agrees with the proposed variation to planning guidelines.

“In the Liberties area, there’s an avalanche of student accommodation applications.

“Now we welcome student accommodation, there’s no problem with that, but where is the family accommodation?” she asked.

“What we’re looking for is a full examination of the impact of student accommodation, especially in the likes of the Liberties, [which] has been neglected for so long.”

She said a large number of applications have been made in the area all of a sudden.

“But they’re all going in for aparthotels, hotels and student accommodation, all of which is a transient population. So what we’re asking for is an assessment of the impact this is going to have on communities.”

Labour Party councillor Andrew Montague acknowledged the issue is concerning a lot of people, but said the council needs to ensure enough accommodation of any type is built in the city.

“Unfortunately, at the moment, the only type of accommodation that’s being built is student accommodation.

“Now, if we make it more difficult and more restrictive to build student accommodation, we will get even less built than is being built at the moment,” he said.

Mr Montague said the prices of a lot of student accommodation being built recently are very high, and make these developments exclusive to just some potential tenants.

“But if those houses weren’t built, the people who can afford them would be taking housing further down the ladder and excluding other people from other parts of the city.”

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