Sinn Féin leader, Mary Lou McDonald has entered a planning row over a proposed new shared co-living scheme for Dublin's Northside.

The Dublin Central TD has written to An Bord Pleanala to claim that it would be "intolerable" for planning permission to be granted for the 321 unit shared co-living scheme on the site of Phibsborough shopping centre.

The objection by Deputy McDonald is one of just under 20 that has been lodged with An Bord Pleanala against the contentious scheme by the owners of the Phibsborough shopping centre, MM Capital.

The developers lodged their 'fast track’ plans for the redevelopment of the 1960s shopping complex and in its place to construct the seven storey development with An Bord Pleanala on December 11th last.

This was 11 days before Minister for Housing, Daragh O’Brien TD signed into law on December 22nd the ban on further shared co-living schemes.

In November, Minister O’Brien announced his intention to introduce the ban.

MM Capital already has planning permission for a €50 million student accommodation scheme at the site and the new replacement shared co-living scheme will increase the permitted building height by two metres and increase in floorspace by 1,079 sq.m to 12,235sq. m.

In her objection, Deputy McDonald states that "co-living developments are driven by investors seeking to exploit the high demand for housing and apartments in our urban centres". 

She argues that "as a consequence, these developments drive up the cost of that land making standard residential development in Dublin even more unaffordable. On that basis granting permission to this development is neither coherent nor sustainable".

Deputy McDonald states, along with party colleagues Cllr Seamus McGrattan and Cllr Janice Boylan, that the application starkly runs contrary to the November 2020 circular where Minister O'Brien effectively banned further shared co-living schemes.

Deputy McDonald is one of a number of local politicians to object to the scheme.

In her objection, Green Party deputy, Neasa Hourgian along with Green Party colleagues has told the appeals board that the Ministerial ban should be relied upon to refuse the application.

Deputy Hourigan states that the scheme "will see the area primarily serve the needs of transient/temporary residents over the needs of people who already live in the community or wish to put down roots in the community".

The Dublin Association of An Taisce along with a number of local residents associations have also raised concerns over the plan.

Consultants for the applicants have told An Bord Pleanala that the proposed alterations to the permitted development "will provide for an altered appropriate form of high quality residential development for this site, in the form of co-living/shared accommodation in place of student accommodation". 

They further state that the proposed alterations to the permitted development "will ensure that a permission is achieved which can be delivered to ensure the effective and efficient use of this under-utilised urban site which is highly accessible and well served by public transport".

On the bedroom design in the development, the consultants state that "the bedroom design is intended to provide a contemporary space for modern city-centre living".

A decision is due on the plan by the appeals board on 12 April.