Over the course of the last twelve months, the Planning & Urban Form Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) of Dublin City Council, which I chair, has been concerned about ensuring families within the city can make use of attic space in their homes as extra living space.
In November, a report on ancillary accommodation in family homes and the planning rules governing same was discussed by the SPC. Those discussions have continued during subsequent meetings of the committee. Myself and members of the Planning & Urban Form SPC have been greatly concerned by the decision of the Department of Housing to severely curtail the Council’s ability to make sustainable use of built-up areas through current Building Regulations. We are worried that as a result of these rules, families and householders will not be in a position to utilise attic space for the provision of increased living or additional bedroom capacity.
Therefore, I sought agreement of the SPC to contact the Building Control Unit of the Department of Housing, Planning, Heritage and Local Government in relation to the rationale for the current building standards applicable to attic conversions and whether there are any plans to amend them having regard to the views expressed by the SPC about making optimum use of existing buildings.
While a response was received from the Housing Section in your Department in February this year indicating that an update on loft conversion guidelines is being prepared, which should be published in early 2021, no further information has been forthcoming. Therefore, I wrote to Minister O’Brien requesting that he and his officials provide clarity on when we can expect guidelines governing the provision of loft conversions will be finalised by his Department and how the Planning & Urban Form Strategic Policy Committee (SPC) of Dublin City Council can contribute to the preparation of such guidelines given the specific challenges facing the Dublin City householders.
As Chairman of the Council’s Planning & Urban Form SPC, I believe it is important to engage directly with the Minister, where obvious opportunities exist for local authorities like Dublin City Council to work with him in a collegiate manner that can see additional living accommodation being provided within our existing housing stock. I hope Minister O’Brien will take these concerns on board and be prepared to work with us in order to address the challenges being faced by Dublin families at present.
Arbour Hill, Ballybough, Broadstone, Church Street, City Centre, Clonliffe Road, Constitution Hill, Drumcondra, Dublin City Council, East Wall, Fine Gael, Grangegorman, Housing, Markets, Montpelier, North Circular Road, North Strand, North Wall, Phibsborough, Planning, Quays, Rathdown Road, Sean McDermott Street, Smithfield, Stoneybatter
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee