Dublin City Council votes against 'log cabin' proposal following safety concerns
Dublin City Council has shot down a proposal to allow ‘log cabins’ in family gardens, which was proposed in an attempt to alleviate the housing crisis.
Independent Cllr John Lyons proposed an amendment to the city’s development plan that would allow “free standing ancillary family accommodation” for family members who are saving to move out.
Currently, the development plan states that “ancillary family accommodation must be attached to the rest of the house and “must not be a separate detached unit.”
Mr Lyons said his proposal was a “practical measure” to the current rental crises. His solution would allow a “free standing structure to the rear or the side of the main family dwelling.”
However, councillors worried that the amendment would lead to fire safety issues for occupants and could be abused by landlords.
Assistant Chief Executive and Head of planning Richard Shakespeare said that safety concerns had to be put first when considering the amendment.
Mr Shakespeare said that accommodation at “the rear of the main family dwelling, does not comply with current development plan policy and fail to meet development plan standards.”
One of his concerns was the lack of “a safe and independent means of access from the public road.” Mr Shakespeare said he worried that “This could have safety implications for future residents in the event of fire.”
Mr Shakespeare also warned that construction of ‘log cabins’ could set a precedent for “substandard dwellings”
His report said: “There are genuine concerns that a major relaxation or variation of the policy or standards to facilitate the construction of free-standing structures in rear gardens will result in the provision of dwellings with poor residential amenities and detract from the amenities of adjoining residential properties.”
Labour Cllr Alison Gilland said that she worried that the amendment could lead to “a sub-culture of shanty towns,” while PBP Cllr Tina Mac Veigh said she worried that the amendment could be abused by unscrupulous landlords:
“I would have deep, deep concern that there would be absolutely no way of regulating so that this would do justice for family members.”
“I am very concerned that we take the necessary steps to ensure that these accommodations are only being rented to private families,” she said. “I don’t see how his is feasible.”
Independent Cllr Mannix Flynn argued in favour of the proposal. He criticized DCC for not being proactive enough in providing housing solutions while Green Party Cllr Ciarán Cuffe said that Mr Lyon’s proposal to alleviate the housing crisis was a “slippery slope” that could lead to sub standard accommodation.
The motion lost by 36 votes to 11 with three abstentions.