‘Back door’ remains for co-living developements despite de-facto ban, says SF

Party’s housing spokesperson Eoin O Broin says that new rules have exceptions

Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing Eoin  O Broin said that a lag between the announcement and the new rules coming in had left a window during which applications could be submitted and therefore assessed under the old rules. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin spokesperson on housing Eoin O Broin said that a lag between the announcement and the new rules coming in had left a window during which applications could be submitted and therefore assessed under the old rules. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Sinn Féin have claimed there is a “back door” for co-living applications despite a de-facto ban on the housing format being introduced by Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien.

Regulations signed off by Mr O’Brien this week state that there will be a “presumption against granting planning permission for shared accommodation/co-living”, but Eoin O Broin, the Sinn Féin housing spokesman, said that the new rules had exceptions.

These include when a local authority determines that there is a specific demand identified “further to a housing need and demand assessment”, or if a planning application for such a development was already in place when the new regulations came into force.

Mr O Broin said that a lag between the announcement and the new rules coming in had left a window during which applications could be submitted and therefore assessed under the old rules, which he said meant that at least 600 new bedspaces are now in the planning system.

“What’s worse is that the new planning regulations show there’s a backdoor by which future applications may be considered and may be granted, so the Minister hasn’t kept his word.”

‘Trying to twist things’

According to the new rules, the presumption against granting planning permission may not apply if a development is “required to meet specific demand identified by a local planning authority further to a Housing Need and Demand Assessment process”.

“While it’s a small back door, it’s nonetheless a back door. This is not a complete ban on co-living,” Mr O Broin said.

The housing minister rejected these assertions, saying Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman was “trying to twist things to suit his agenda, cause confusion and sew discontent where there’s no need to be. We’ve made a commitment and seen it through, end of story.”

He said Mr O Broin should “get over himself”.

“Sinn Féin want people disaffected, they don’t want progress, we are making progress and it doesn’t suit them,” he said.