‘Communal living for professionals’

 

A chara, – I suggest that the Cabinet should be the first group of professionals to pilot the student accommodation model as proposed by the Minister for Housing (“Minister plans communal living for professionals”, October 6th).

While each Minister would have their own bedrooms and ensuite, it would be interesting to see what beneficial effects the communal kitchen and living room would have on ministerial thinking.

Would they still attempt to make building more affordable for developers? – Is mise,

DERMOT O’ROURKE,

Lucan,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – You just have to feel increasing sorry for the next generation as we move ever faster toward a standard of housing not too far removed from Hong Kong’s infamous “coffin cubicles”.

Not content with saddling our children with huge debt, we now plan to leave them a plethora of cramped living spaces that would try the endurance of an anchorite. Is there no one about to advise the Minister of the great dangers to health posed by such living conditions?

If he can lever himself free from the clutches of the Construction Industry Federation for an hour or two, may I suggest he read Full House? How Overcrowded Housing Affects Families, by Liam Reynolds. It might just alert the Minister to the importance of good planning and how quality living space impacts on the general health and wellbeing of our society – if, of course, he is in the slightest interested in such things. – Yours, etc,

JIM O’SULLIVAN,

Rathedmond,

Sligo.

Sir, – In response to Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy’s announcement of changes to planning and development laws, there is one word that comes to mind, khrushchyovka.

The Minister’s plans for shared accommodation is neither new or welcome; in fact, it is a failed relic from the Soviet Union. During the housing crisis of the 1950s and 1960s, the Russian authorities proposed the idea of communal living as a “vision of the future”.

The idea was originally considered to be a temporary solution to the housing shortage that would be alleviated by a stronger economy, and that the “young professionals” could use them as a stepping stone to move into their own apartments and housing over the next 10 to 20 years. However, with technological improvements, many people inhabiting these spaces found themselves unemployed or in low-paid and low-skilled jobs that left them unable to take the next step. Many started families but continued to live in communal apartments.

Just because other countries are doing this doesn’t mean we should.

What happens once the gloss wears off the new shared apartment? Who will be responsible for the upkeep, communal spaces, the lifts and the outdoor spaces?

Questions must be asked about “affordable prices”; similar purpose-built student accommodation is already unaffordable to many full-time working professionals, with the cheapest at Broadstone in Dublin coming in at €775 a month. How can the Government curb these expenses to make these affordable for all and not just the elite whose parents can afford to meet the rent?

Will people get to choose who they share the communal space with? What happens when someone doesn’t clean up in the communal space? What happens when some people wish to cohabit as a couple? What happens when these people have children? Will they be forced to move out? Will there be spaces provided for children?

Perhaps it is time we struck a new deal with these large international corporations that could help us deal with the housing crisis and tax predicament, by providing tax breaks for these companies that provide both social facilities and housings for their workers.

Companies wanting to make the most of this will look to underdeveloped towns and cities that will help improve these areas, while bringing costs down and spreading job creation throughout the country. – Yours, etc,

ROBERT HOBBS,

Howth, Co Dublin.