18th December

Dún Laoghaire seafront high rise plan razed to the ground

As Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown councillors were voting last week on a controversial development proposal for the town’s derelict baths, chants of ‘We want the old coast not the Gold Coast’ could be heard from the street below.

The plan was defeated by fifteen votes to seven, with six abstentions; instead councillors have agreed to consider five smaller options, all of which exclude an eight storey apartment block that was central to local opposition

Infill could seriously impact the coastline. Photo Gillian Mills

Infill could seriously impact the coastline. Photo Gillian Mills

 Victory

The outcome is a major victory for the Save our Seafront’ group, which had campaigned relentlessly against ‘privitisation’ of the seafront. The initial €140m plan included reclamation of five acres of foreshore; 180 apartments and restaurants; 10-storey circular glass tower with a viewing platform; swimming and leisure complex; plaza for open air events and a promenade to link the Forty Foot swimming area and the East Pier.

 “We’re very pleased with the vote,” commented Bod Waddell. At least it does away with the high-rise apartment element. We’ll be watching the proceedings with interest, and giving our input,” he added.

Richard Boyd –Barrett (SOS) said public opposition was unquestionable.

“With over 4,000 people attending our rally last month and almost 15,000 signing our petition, it is clear that the overwhelming majority of people are utterly opposed to this disgraceful plan for the baths.”

Environmental concerns

Most of the focus had been on loss of public space and views, but according to the environmental group, Coastwatch, the consequence of infilling five acres of foreshore was equally important:

“This is an important nursery ground for fish, lobster and crab. Any infill would cause biodiversity loss and could impact elsewhere along the coastline and around Dublin Bay.”

At a briefing seminar and field trip organised by Coastwatch just days before the vote, topics included climate change; the local sea and dolphin population and Peter O’Halloran, chairman of the Bullock Harbour Association gave a perspective of fisheries habitats.

The meeting passed a motion on the baths ‘to stay in public use and that any development should be no larger than the present development of the building and be sympathetic to the existing built environment behind it.’

The meeting also passed a motion for no infill anywhere within Dublin Bay or on the River Liffey or Tolka estuary in view of climate change implications for Dublin Bay and its hinterland.

Options A1 and A2

Level the existing derelict baths and construct a viewing platform. A2 includes a walkway linking Newtownsmith and the existing Maritime Gardens (€2.8m for A1 and €2.95m for A2)

Option 2

Refurbishment of the existing outdoor pools and retention of the original structures as far as possible; building a small garden to the east of the site (€12m).

Option C

A 25m indoor swimming pool with a viewing platform on the east side (€11.5m)

Option D

A 25m indoor pool with a new breakwater and a public garden and coastal promenade (€15,25m).

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