A motion stating that property developers must ensure there is not an “over-concentration” of student housing within a 1km area when submitting proposals for the development of additional student accommodation was passed by Dublin City Council at a council meeting on Monday.
The proposal was a step up from the existing regulation which stated that there must not be an over-concentration within a 250m radius. It was, and continues to be, the responsibility of the developer to provide evidence, including a map, that there would not be an over-concentration within the specified area, which will now be 1km.
The vote on the motion, which was based on a request by the Central Area Committee, was originally to take place at the council meeting on September 4 but was moved to September 18 as the councillors wanted more time to consider the motion.
Prior to the vote, a Dublin City Council Spokesperson told Trinity News that “it is considered that the proposed variation will provide enhanced information during the planning application process” and that the change will ensure that student housing is developed in “suitable areas”.
Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) President Kevin Keane assisted the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) in emailing and ringing city councillors to ask that they reject the motion, citing the possibility of “negative consequences to the delivery of purpose built student accommodation” as the reason for their concern.
“With an ever-increasing number of beds needed for students, it is important that further limitations to developments are not imposed”, Keane stated in his email sent to councillors and seen by Trinity News.
The alteration to the existing regulations could now make it more difficult for developers to get approval to build new purpose built student housing, something Keane noted in his email. He argued that, as existing private and college owned student accommodation “could already be interpreted as over-concentration” in the city, “effectively, no additional bed spaces will be provided in close proximity to campuses”.
Keane argued that students can be a “great addition” to local communities, citing the expansion of Trinity Hall as an example of this. The expansion of the accommodation complex was initially protested by locals but Keane argued that the 1,000 students that live there are well integrated into the Rathgar community and the “increase in capacity is now a very welcome addition to the area”.