A Dublin Senator says the planning system shouldn’t be unfairly manipulated by student accommodation operators to shield against losses.
Dublin Central Labour Party Senator Marie Sherlock said she believes a “dangerous precedent” is being set by Dublin City Council in approving applications to allow student accommodation developments to take bookings from tourists during term-time.
In an appeal lodged to An Bórd Pleanála along with Cabra-Glasnevin Councillor Declan Meenagh, Sherlock said the decision to grant temporary change-of-use permission to a city centre development “validates an attempt by the developers to use the planning system to cushion themselves against future losses.”
Senator Sherlock explained the reasons behind her appeal to the planning board.
“We have outlined four primary reasons that we believe that An Bórd Pleanála should overturn this grant of permission,” she said.
“Firstly, we argue that the whole point of the planning system in the first place was to shape communities for the long-term.
“Allowing student accommodation operators to circumvent Section 13(d) of the Planning and Development (Housing) and Residential Tenancies Act by accepting bookings from tourists during term time, introduces an element of ‘flexibility’ to the planning system which amounts to additional advantages being bestowed on developers who are already exempt from Part V social housing obligations.
“We argue that Dublin City Council in granting permission has failed to consider the aggregate impact of this kinds of decision on the overall development of the city.
“Five similar applications of this nature have the potential to add up to 1600 additional beds to the city’s supply of tourist and short-term residential beds”.
Cabra-Glasnevin Councillor Declan Meenagh said:
“At a time when tourism is on its knees and the supply of tourist accommodation is already over-saturated, we have to ask whether anyone’s interests are really being served by this application.
“We must remain aware of the negative effects that a proliferation of this kind of development is having on Dublin, with transient communities being established – and short-term profits being chased – at the expense of the sustainable development of the city.
“We exhort An Bórd Pleanála to reject this application”.