15.13 - Other Residential Typologies

15.13.1         Student Accommodation

The City Council supports the provision of high-quality, professionally managed, purpose-built third-level student accommodation, either on campus or in accessible locations adjacent to quality public transport corridors and cycle routes, in a manner which respects the residential amenities of the locality[1].

Proposals for student accommodation shall be in accordance with Policy QHSN45. Student accommodation should make a positive contribution to the built environment, in terms of design quality, scale, height and the relationship to adjacent buildings. The external layout, including any necessary security arrangements, should be designed to avoid isolating developments from the surrounding community.

In assessing proposals, the planning authority will have regard to the pattern and distribution of student accommodation in the locality, and will resist the overconcentration of such schemes in any one area, in the interests of achieving a sustainable mix of development, whilst also providing for successful urban regeneration, good public transport/cycling/ walking connectivity, and the protection of residential amenity.

All applications for student accommodation must be accompanied by documentation outlining how the scheme will be professionally managed including confirmation that all occupiers will be students registered with a third-level institution.

Documentation must also outline how the scheme will support integration with the local community, through its design and layout. Permissions for student housing will be subject to a condition requiring a planning permission for a change of use to other types of residential accommodation.

The provisions of Part V (Social and Affordable Housing) of the Planning Acts do not apply to student accommodation in the City Council area.

In assessing applications for purpose built student accommodation the planning authority will have regard to the following key factors:

  • The location is appropriate in terms of access to university and college facilities by walking, cycling or public transport.
  • The proposal will not result in an excessive concentration of student accommodation (including that in the private rented sector) to an extent that would be detrimental to the maintenance of balanced communities or to the established character and residential amenity of the locality.

It is preferable in principle that student needs are met as far as possible in purpose built and managed schemes rather than the widespread conversion of family housing. In general, such provision can take place at relatively high densities. Open space and car parking provision can be tailored to reflect the nature of the proposed use. However, these considerations should not compromise design quality. Developments should be close to the universities and colleges and accessible by public transport.

In assessing the degree of concentration of student accommodation, the Council will take into account the nature of the locality in terms of mix of land use and housing types, the existing and proposed number of students in the locality. To assist in this assessment the applicant will be requested to submit evidence of existing, proposed and under construction student accommodation developments within an area, including a map showing all such facilities within 1km of a proposal.      Unit Mix

Student accommodation is typically provided on a ‘cluster’ type model comprising of a group of bedrooms and a shared kitchen / living/ dining space. A minimum of 3 bed spaces with an overall minimum gross floor area of 55 sq. m. up to a maximum of 8 bed spaces and a maximum gross floor area of 160 sq. m. shall be provided in any ‘cluster’ of student accommodation units.

Consideration will be given to an increase in the number of bedrooms per cluster on campus locations with a maximum of 12 bed spaces per cluster.

Bathrooms must be provided en-suite within each bedrooms unit.

The cluster model shall provide minimum bedroom sizes as follows:

Table 15-7:      Minimum Bedroom Sizes for Student Accommodation Clusters

Bedroom Type

Bedroom Size (min)

Bedroom Size including En‑Suite (min)

Single Study

8 sq. m.

12 sq. m.

Twin Study

15 sq. m.

18 sq. m.

Disabled Study


15 sq. m.


An alternative ‘studio’ model may also be considered in certain circumstances within a larger student accommodation scheme. These studio units can accommodate single or double occupancy and shall comprise of en-suite bathroom facilities and private kitchenettes/cooking facilities. These studio units shall provide a minimum of 25 sq. m. and a maximum gross floor area of 35 sq. m.      Daylight and Sunlight

Student accommodation should be designed to give optimum orientation in terms of daylight to habitable rooms. Given the nature of student occupancy, the residential standards in relation to dual aspect may be relaxed. Proposed developments shall be guided by the principles and standards set out in Appendix 16.      Communal Facilities

Communal facilities and services which serve the needs of students shall be provided both internally and externally within a scheme.

Adequate external open space of suitable orientation should be provided within developments for the amenity of students. Generally ground floor courtyards that achieve appropriate daylighting and sun lighting will be required. In certain circumstances, terraces and roof gardens will be considered but only in addition to appropriate ground level amenity provision.

The provision of indoor communal space can be broken down to indoor amenity spaces such as cinema rooms, study rooms, games rooms etc. and indoor services such as laundry facilities, caretaker/ security and refuse facilities etc.

Where accommodation is provided on-campus, communal facilities will be assessed on a case-by-case basis having regard to the level of and access to on campus amenity. Details are to be provided as part of the application.

All proposals must provide appropriate indoor and outdoor communal and recreational facilities for students at a combined level of at least 5-7 sq. m. per bedspace.

In addition, shared kitchen/living/dining rooms shall be provided within each student cluster, based on a minimum 4 sq. m. per bed space. This is in addition to any circulation space and communal space provided.

Table 15-8:      Communal Requirements for Student Accommodation Clusters

Communal Requirement


Indoor / Outdoor

5-7 sq. m. per bedspace

Kitchen / Living / Dining

4 sq. m. per bedspace


9-13 sq. m. per bedspace      Car Parking / Bicycle Parking

Designated car parking will not be supported in student accommodation schemes in the city. However, car parking for persons with disabilities should be provided. See Appendix 5 for further details.

Provision can be made to provide for a car sharing service for the use of residents. All student accommodation developments should however, be accompanied by a mobility management plan – refer to transport appendix 5.

A minimum of one cycle parking space per resident should be provided within the development as well as additional visitor parking at surface level at a rate of 1 per 10 no. residents – refer to Appendix 5 for further details.      Temporary Use as Tourist Accommodation

The use of Student Accommodation as temporary tourist accommodation will be considered outside the normal academic year. The tourist / visitor accommodation shall only be occupied for short-term letting periods of no more than two months and shall not be used as independent and separate self-contained permanent residential units. Appropriate conditions will apply.

15.13.2         Shared Accommodation (Co-Living) Developments

Shared Accommodation (Co-Living) developments are purpose built professionally managed rental accommodation where individual rooms are rented within a commercial development that includes access to shared or communal facilities and amenities.

Specific Planning Policy Requirement 9 states that there shall be a presumption against granting shared accommodation (Co-Living) schemes unless the proposed development is required to meet the specific demand identified as part of a housing need and demand assessment (HNDA).

A HNDA has been carried out as part of the development plan and has not identified any requirement for shared accommodation (co-living) developments. There is, therefore, a general presumption against this form of development in the city and the City Council will not support further co-living developments in the city.

15.13.3         Infill /Side Garden Housing Developments

The development of a dwelling or dwellings in the side garden of an existing house is a means of making the most efficient use of serviced residential lands. Such developments, when undertaken on suitable sites and to a high standard of design, can constitute valuable additions to the residential building stock of an area and will generally be allowed for by the planning authority on suitable large sites.

The planning authority will favourably consider the development of infill housing on appropriate sites, having regard to development plan policy on infill sites and to facilitate the most sustainable use of land and existing urban infrastructure. In general, infill housing should comply with all relevant development plan standards for residential development including unit sizes, dual aspect requirements, internal amenity standards and open space requirements. In certain limited circumstances, the planning authority may relax the normal planning standards in the interest of ensuring that vacant, derelict and under-utilised land is developed.

The planning authority will have regard to the following criteria in assessing proposals for the development of corner/side garden sites:

  • The character of the street.
  • Compatibility of design and scale with adjoining dwellings, paying attention to the established building line, proportion, heights, parapet levels and materials of adjoining buildings.
  • Accommodation standards for occupiers.
  • Development plan standards for existing and proposed dwellings.
  • Impact on the residential amenities of adjoining sites.
  • Open space standards and refuse standards for both existing and proposed dwellings.
  • The provision of a safe means of access to and egress from the site.
  • The provision of landscaping and boundary treatments which are in keeping with other properties in the area.
  • The maintenance of the front and side building lines, where appropriate.
  • Level of visual harmony, including external finishes and colours.
  • Larger corner sites may allow more variation in design, but more compact detached proposals should more closely relate to adjacent dwellings. A modern design response may, however, be deemed more appropriate in certain areas and the Council will support innovation in design.
  • Side gable walls as side boundaries facing corners in estate roads are not considered acceptable and should be avoided.
  • Appropriate boundary treatments should be provided both around the site and between the existing and proposed dwellings. Existing boundary treatments should be retained/ reinstated where possible.
  • Use of first floor/apex windows on gables close to boundaries overlooking footpaths, roads and open spaces for visual amenity and passive surveillance.

15.13.4         Backland Housing

Backland development is generally defined as development of land that lies to the rear of an existing property or building line. Dublin City Council will allow for the provision of comprehensive backland development where the opportunity exists.

Backland housing can comprise of larger scale redevelopment with an overall site access; mews dwellings with access from a rear laneway or detached habitable dwellings to the rear of existing housing with and independent vehicular access.

Developments with street presence are generally governed by clear set out rules established by the urban order of an existing streetscape. Backland development, however, requires more innovation and reinterpretation to enable comprehensive development of these spaces.

Consideration of access and servicing and the interrelationship between overlooking, privacy, aspect and daylight / sunlight are paramount to the success and acceptability of new development in backland conditions.

Where there is potential to provide backland development at more than one site/property in a particular area, the Planning Authority will seek to encourage the amalgamation of adjoining sites/properties in order to provide for a more comprehensive backland development, this should be discussed at pre-planning stage. Piecemeal backland development with multiple vehicular access points will not be encouraged. See Appendix 5 for further details on vehicular access.

Applications for backland housing should consider the following:

  • Compliance with relevant residential design standards in relation to unit size, room size, private open space etc.
  • Provision of adequate separation distances to ensure privacy is maintained and overlooking is minimised.
  • That safe and secure access for car parking and service and maintenance vehicles is provided.
  • The scale, form and massing of the existing properties and interrelationship with the proposed backland development.
  • The impacts on the either the amenity of the existing properties in terms of daylight, sunlight, visual impact etc. or on the amenity obtained with the unit itself.
  • The materials and finishes proposed with regard to existing character of the area.
  • A proposed backland dwelling shall be located not less than 15 metres from the rear façade of the existing dwelling, and with a minimum rear garden depth of 7 metres.
  • A relaxation in rear garden length, may be acceptable, once sufficient open space provided to serve the proposed dwelling and the applicant can demonstrate that the proposed backland dwelling will not impact negatively on adjoining residential amenity.


All applications for infill developments will be assessed on a case by case basis. In certain instances, Dublin City Council may permit relaxation of some standards to promote densification and urban consolidation in specific areas. The applicant must demonstrate high quality urban design and a comprehensive understanding of the site and the specific constraints to justify the proposal.

15.13.5         Mews

Historic mews structures mainly comprised stabling with living quarters were typically two-storey in height and had an integral carriage arch for access. During the 20th Century, many older mews structures were adapted for warehouse or garage use. Mews dwellings are an integral part of backland development across the city. Mews dwellings are typically accessed via existing laneways or roadways serving the rear of residential developments.

Many historic mews buildings remain within the curtilage of protected structures and are, therefore, also afforded statutory protection. The relationship between the historic main house and its mews structure remains a relevant consideration for architectural heritage protection. Dublin City Council recognises the increasing rarity of stone/brick coach houses and the need to retain and conserve all of the surviving examples. Proposals to demolish such buildings will generally not be accepted.

It is an objective of the City Council to protect the character and setting of mews dwellings and to ensure all new proposal are respectful and appropriate in its context; see also Policy BHA14 and Objective BHAO5 in Chapter 11. Applications for mews development should consider servicing, including the impact on existing infrastructure such as waste and water systems.      Design and Layout

Dublin City Council will actively encourage schemes which provide a unified approach to the development of residential mews lanes and where consensus between all property owners has been agreed. This unified approach framework is the preferred alternative to individual development proposals. Individual proposals however, will also be considered and assessed on a case by case basis.

Traditional and/ or high quality contemporary design for mews buildings will be considered. The materials proposed should respect the existing character of the area and utilise a similar colour palette to that of the main structure.

The distance between the opposing windows of mews dwellings and of the main houses shall ensure a high level of privacy is provided and potential overlooking is minimised. In such cases, innovative and high quality design will be required to ensure privacy and to provide an adequate setting, including amenity space, for both the main building and the mews dwelling.

Private open space shall be provided to the rear of the mews building to provide for adequate amenity space for both the original and proposed dwelling and shall be landscaped so as to provide for a quality residential environment. The open space area shall not be obstructed by off-street parking.

If the main house is in multiple occupancy, the amount of private open space remaining after the subdivision of the garden for a mews development shall meet both the private open space requirements for the main house divided into multiple dwellings and for mews development.

With regard to Protected Structures, where new boundary walls are proposed between the principal building and the associated mews / coach house, the proposed boundary line should be located at an appropriate distance from the building line of the Protected Structure so as to provide an appropriate amenity space for the Protected Structure.

The form and layout of the new development of mews structures should:

  • Acknowledge the historic building plots where possible. Where a proposal extends over more than one building plot, articulation in the design and layout should be introduced to make reference to the original plot layout. The amalgamation or subdivision of plots on mews lanes will generally not be encouraged.
  • The existing building line should be maintained where possible. The rear building line of new mews developments should be consistent with the existing mews plots where possible.
  • The sensitive adaptive reuse of existing and new mews buildings for residential purposes will be encouraged and promoted.      Height, Scale and Massing

New buildings should complement the character of both the mews lane and main building with regard to scale, massing, height, building depth, roof treatment and materials. The height of mews building should not negatively impact on the views from the main property. Development will generally be confined to two-storey buildings. In certain circumstances, three-storey mews developments incorporating apartments will be acceptable, where the proposed mews building:

  • is subordinate in height and scale to the main building;
  • is maintaining the established height of existing mews roof ridgelines;
  • has an acceptable level of open space and where the laneway is suitable for resulting traffic conditions;
  • has sufficiently sized apartment units in line with the relevant Section 28 guidelines.

This is in line with national policy to promote increased residential densities in proximity to the city centre.

Proposals for an additional set back level may be considered on a case by case basis where the additional floor is integrated within the pitched roof element of the structure or where the design and form is contemporary. The set-back should be a minimum of 1.5 metres from the front building line.      Roofs

The roof profile for mews buildings should be simple and in keeping with the character of the area. The following roofs are suitable: flat green or low-pitch metal roofs and double pitched slate roofs similar to the surviving mews building. All pitched roofs should run parallel with the mews lane with no ridge lines running perpendicular to the lane. New development should not break the legibility of the form of the original coach house terrace.      Access

Parking provision in mews lanes, where provided, may be in off-street garages, forecourts or courtyards, subject to conservation and access criteria. Car free mews developments may be permitted in certain circumstances where there are specific site constraints and where alternative modes of transport are available. Each development will be assessed on a case by case basis.

Potential mews laneways must provide adequate accessibility in terms of private vehicular movements, emergency vehicles and refuse vehicles. Where access cannot be provided, an access and movement strategy must be provided to justify that the development can be adequately served. See Appendix 5 for further details.

All mews lanes will be considered to be shared surfaces, and footpaths need not necessarily be provided. Where historic materials exist, roof materials, stone, paving surfaces, windows, joinery, ironmongery etc. these should be retained in order to protect the special character of the original mews lanes

15.13.6         Living Over the Shop

Dublin City Council will actively encourage the development of residential accommodation over existing commercial premises. It is acknowledged that there is a considerable amount of vacancy and underutilised floorspace on the upper floors of commercial premises that have the capacity to contribute significantly to the housing stock of the city.

Applications for the refurbishment and reuse of these buildings for residential accommodation will, therefore, be supported and actively pursued subject to suitability of location and standard of accommodation provided.

Residential accommodation should seek comply with the relevant standards for apartments as set out in Section 28 guidelines. However, in certain instances and where a building is a protected structure, relaxations of these standards will be considered.

Car free developments will be supported for refurbishment schemes. Access to adequate bicycle storage will be required where feasible.

Each application will be assessed on a case by case basis.

15.13.7         Nursing Homes/Assisted Living

There is a continuing and growing need for nursing homes and in particular, due to the aging population. Such facilities should be integrated wherever possible into the established residential areas of the city.

Such facilities should be located in established neighbourhoods / residential areas well served by community infrastructure, and amenities. Future residents should expect reasonable access to local services.

In determining planning applications for change of use of a residential dwelling or other building to nursing/elder care home, the following factors should be considered:

  • Compliance with standards as laid down in the Statutory Instrument No. 293 of 2016, Health Act 2007 (Care and Welfare of Residents in Designated Centres for Older People) Regulations 2016.
  • Compliance with the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) National Standards for Residential Care Settings for Older People in Ireland (July 2016), and any successor document.
  • The effect on the amenities of adjoining properties.
  • Adequacy of off-street parking.
  • Suitable private open space.
  • The design and scale of the facility proposed: the scale must be appropriate to the area.
  • Proximity of high quality public transport links and provision of good footpath links.

Ancillary accommodation for staff of any such facility will be considered on a case by case basis.

15.13.8         Care Homes

In accordance with the Planning and Development Regulations, 2001 (as amended), applications for change of use from a house to use as a residence for persons with an intellectual or physical disability or mental illness and persons providing care for such persons will require planning permission where the number of persons with such a disability exceeds six, and where the number of resident carers exceeds two will require planning permission. Please refer to National Quality Standards: Residential Services for People with Disabilities prepared by HIQA.

15.13.9         Hostels / Sheltered Accommodation / Family Hubs

Family hubs are emergency accommodation facilities for families who become homeless and who have no alternative other than commercial hotels. Family hubs are not long term facilities and will act only as temporary accommodation until housing can be provided under social housing supports, as supply becomes available.

Family hubs can comprise of either purpose built accommodation or conversion of existing residential accommodation for the use as shared living environments. Family hubs shall provide appropriate high quality play spaces for children, cooking and laundry facilities and communal recreational spaces. More details are available at: https://www.homelessdublin.ie/solutions/family-accommodation

An over-concentration of non-tourist hostel accommodation, homeless accommodation, social support institutions and family hubs can potentially undermine the sustainability of a neighbourhood and so there must be an appropriate balance in the further provision of such developments and/or expansion of such existing uses in electoral wards which already accommodate a disproportionate quantum. Accordingly, there shall be an onus on all applicants to indicate that any proposal such development will not result in an undue concentration of such uses, nor undermine the existing local economy, the resident community, the residential amenity, or the regeneration of the area.

All such applications for such uses shall include the following:

  • A map of all homeless and other social support services within a 750 m radius of application site.
  • A statement on catchment area, i.e. whether proposal is to serve local or regional demand and estimation of expected daily clients.
  • A statement regarding security and operational management of the service/facility including hours of operation.
  • Assessment of the impact on the public realm and quality environment.

Conditions may be attached to a grant of permission limiting the duration of the permission and the use on a temporary basis.

15.13.10       Traveller Accommodation

Dublin City Council recognises the tradition of the Traveller Community within the city and has regard to the specific requirements arising from its indigenous culture. The Council will implement measures, as required by law and national policy, in accordance with the housing strategy to provide accommodation for member of the Travelling Community.

Dublin City Council will provide for the accommodation needs of the travelling community as far as reasonable and practical using the full range of housing options available in consultation with the travelling community and a number of statutory and voluntary agencies concerned in accordance with QHSN30 and QHSN31.

15.13.11       Embassies

Where permission is granted for the use of a dwelling house as a residential embassy, such permission will be regarded as limited in duration to the period of such use by the applicant or other residential embassy use, after which the building(s) will be returned to residential use.


[1] A student means a person who is registered with a third-level educational institution which is designated as such by the Department of Education and Science or by ACELS (Accreditation and Co-ordination of English Language Services) under the auspices of the DES.