Ivana Bacik opposes Bartra’s Ballsbridge shared co-living plan

Residents would need to book one-hour slots for kitchen to comply with virus restrictions

An artist’s impression of a kitchen in Bartra’s proposed co-living development in Rathmines.

An artist’s impression of a kitchen in Bartra’s proposed co-living development in Rathmines.

 

Giving permission for a 111-bed shared co-living development on Dublin’s Merrion Road “in the midst of a deadly pandemic” would be unduly hasty, according to objector Ivana Bacik.

Residents would be required to book one-hour slots in the development’s kitchens to observe coronavirus restrictions. But Senator Bacik said co-living was unviable due to “uncertainty around Covid-19”.

Richard Barrett’s Bartra Property is looking to build opposite the British embassy and close to the RDS in Ballsbridge. He has already secured planning permission for two shared co-living proposals in Dún Laoghaire and Rathmines.

The five-storey building proposed includes 96 single rooms, six double rooms and three accessible rooms along with a gym and cinema room.

A 13-page Stay Safe Shield and Covid-19 Pandemic Operation Plan submitted with the application requires residents to book one-hourly slots daily in the communal kitchens to maintain social distancing in response to the pandemic.

The plan by proposed operators of the development, Niche Living, states that there will be 112 hours available each evening to book in the kitchens and 224 hours available between 7am and 4pm each day.

A risk assessment drawn up for Bartra by environmental physician and MD of Corporate Health Ireland Dr Martin Hogan “determined a low risk of transmission between persons in the co-living development”.

Dr Hogan states: “In many respects the risks of transmission would be less than for people living in a normal house or shared apartment. The self contained nature of the private suites dramatically reduces the risk of transmission of the virus and indeed make suites ideal for self-isolation or quarantine if they were required.”

‘Dangerous precedent’

However, in an objection to Dublin City Council Senator Bacik contends that the report “does not adequately address concerns associated with Covid-19”.

She said restrictions around access to a kitchen “are not conducive to sustainable medium- to long-term accommodation and set a dangerous precedent for the degradation of housing standards in Ireland”.

In light of Covid-19 future demand for bed spaces was uncertain and the council should prioritise housing which may be retained for the longer term, said Senator Bacik.

A council decision is due on the proposal next month.

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