Moves to restrict student housing must be opposed – Ibec
Ibec has called on Government to oppose and prevent measures under consideration by Dublin City Council to restrict student accommodation. The proposal seeks to provide planning authorities with an additional basis to oppose the building of student accommodation if there is already purpose- built student accommodation within a three square kilometre radius of the planned new development. The group said that such changes to local planning requirements would undermine Dublin’s attractiveness as a city in which to live, study and work.
Aidan Sweeney, Ibec Senior Policy Executive stated: “At a time when students are excitedly accepting CAO offers, their next concern is access to quality, safe and affordable accommodation throughout their college life. Dublin City Council, however, is currently examining a proposal that could make it extremely difficult to provide purpose-built student accommodation within an area of three square kilometres of an existing student premises. This would dramatically reduce the amount of areas available to build accommodation that is of good quality and affordable across the city. The result will be to push future student housing provision to the outskirts of Dublin and beyond, impacting upon the quality of student life and on the future economic growth of the city.
“We call on Government to strongly oppose this proposal and instead insist Dublin City Council facilitates, not restricts, the supply of quality and affordable student housing. Our planning system must stand resolute in the face of a growing, yet unfounded and short-sighted, opposition to purpose-built student accommodation. It contravenes the recently launched National Student Accommodation Strategy and is wholly inconsistent with the goals of the city’s own development plan.
“A vibrant student population is an important aspect of the economic and social life of a city. This proposal ignores and seriously undermines Dublin’s distinct advantage as a global hub for education. Student numbers are increasing, and by 2030 they are expected to be approximately 30% higher than current numbers. The rise could be even higher with the sharp spike in applications from EU and international students in the wake of Brexit. This raises the question of where they will all live during their studies.
“Not everyone can commute to college from home. Instead, students are left to compete for an ever shrinking supply of student residence placement, or for the sparse availability in the private rental sector. Housing four students in purpose-built accommodation would free up one additional housing unit, alleviating some of the burden in the over- crowded rental market. Specialist student housing will crucially play a part in addressing Dublin’s, and indeed the country’s, chronic housing shortage. It must be prioritised. We must ensure that Dublin remains an attractive city to live, work and study in.”