Sinn Féin publishes Bill to ban co-living- Eoin Ó Broin TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Eoin Ó Broin TD has this morning published a Bill that will ban co-living developments. The Planning and Development (Excessive Ministerial Power Repeal) Bill 2019 reverses a controversial amendment to the Planning and Development Act which allows the Minister for Housing to place specific planning policy requirements on local authorities. The Bill also repeals two sets of mandatory guidelines introduced by Minister Murphy in 2018 including those related to co-living.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“This Bill seeks to repeal an amendment made to the Planning and Development Act by then Minister Alan Kelly in 2015 which gave the Minister the power to impose planning guidelines on local authorities despite what was democratically agreed by local councillors in their county and city development plans.
“While previously a Minister could only use such power with Oireachtas approval. Minister Kelly’s amendment dispensed with this democratic nicety amounting to a substantial power grab further centralising planning powers with the Minister and his Department.
“This power is what gave us the Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments — Guidelines for Planning Authorities published in March 2018 and the Urban Development and Building Heights Guidelines for Planning Authorities published in December 2018.
“These mandatory guidelines have removed restrictions on apartment building heights, decreased apartment sizes, increased the permissible number of small studio apartments in a single development, increased the number of apartments per lift or stairwell in developments and reduced the number of dual aspect apartments per development.
“They also provided even greater flexibility in built-to-let apartment developments and introduced co-living permitting minimum micro apartments of 12 m sq.
“Sinn Féin opposed the new mandatory guidelines at the time arguing that they would reduce the quality of life for apartment dwellers while at the same time push up prices as they added significantly to the value of development land and in turn rent or purchase prices.
“Our concerns proved to be correct as the guidelines have directly facilitated Build to Rent and Co-Living developments.
“The Planning and Development (Excessive Ministerial Power Repeal) Bill 2019 repeals this controversial power and the subsequent guidelines. This will allow individual local authorities to determine the most appropriate planning frameworks for their county development plans. It would mean an end to the spectacle of co-living and other developer led changes made under Minister Murphy."
Note to Editors: Please see Bill attached and links to the mandatory guidelines referenced.