I propose to take Questions Nos. 46 and 90 together.
I thank the Deputy for the question. In 2018, I published updated Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities under section 28 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, to respond to the changing housing needs in light of demographics and the dynamics we are seeing in the urban employment market. An extensive public consultation process took place prior to finalisation of the guidelines during which 63 submissions were made to my Department, all of which are available on my Department’s website. My Department also hosted a consultative workshop prior to finalising the guidelines. I do not believe the Deputy made any submissions as part of that public consultation, which was very well flagged at the time because it was well publicised when it was first announced.
The updated guidelines set out the policy on the range of apartment types needed to meet the accommodation needs of a variety of household types and sizes. This includes the introduction of the shared accommodation or co-living format. This format comprises professionally managed rental accommodation where individual rooms are rented within an overall development that includes access to shared or communal facilities and amenities. Such developments are only appropriate where responding to an identified urban housing need at particular locations; they are not suitable for families and are not envisaged as an alternative or replacement to the more conventional apartment developments which are provided for elsewhere in those same guidelines.
In assessing proposals for Shared Accommodation, a planning authority must have regard to the need for such a type of accommodation in an area. Planning authorities must also strike a balance between the need for a particular form of accommodation and the need to avoid a proliferation of shared accommodation development to the detriment of the overall objective of providing quality urban apartment development as a viable long-term housing option. Furthermore, there is an obligation on the proposer of a shared accommodation scheme to demonstrate to the planning authority that their proposal is based on an actual accommodation need and to provide a satisfactory evidential base in that regard.
I cannot comment on the expected rental price of such developments as this is dependent on both the market generally as well as the location and accommodation specifics of individual projects. Do they have a gym or a movie room? I refer to those types of developments. Developments of this kind are not intended to provide State subsidised housing for individuals or families; they are designed to meet a particular demand which, although limited in scale, exists in the rental market.
While I am satisfied that the guidelines as issued are robust, given that they are relatively new and it is a new form of accommodation for this country, although not in other countries, my Department will monitor the emerging shared accommodation sector and may issue further additional technical updates to this document as appropriate.