A seaside berth has been proposed for Dublin’s southern suburb of Blackrock as part of a plan developed within the local community.
The substantial project would see an elevated, terraced plaza built over Bath Place, a large public space next to Blackrock Dart station which is currently a car park and bus terminus.
The square would stretch across the railway line to the shore of Dublin Bay, connecting nearby shops, bars and restaurants to the waterfront and beach, and nearby Blackrock Park, as well as the track railway, to the current coastal cycle path and to all future cycle and pedestrian paths around the bay.
The proposal aims to increase “the livability of our village for the community and visitors”, according to Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Action Group, whose plan also includes two floors of underground parking under the plaza, for around 100 cars and 200 bikes, with existing taxi. and access for people with reduced mobility to the station being maintained, as well as improved access by buggy and wheelchair to the beach.
“This concept offers us a unique opportunity to create a hub of mobility and a civic place in our village with equal access for all, including the seaside and the beach,” says Sorcha Brady, one of the founders of the action group, whose volunteers have been working on the idea for about a year, in conjunction with Blackrock Business Network.
A first proposal that has circulated informally since last Wednesday includes an aerial photograph of the area targeted for improvement and an artist’s impression of the new square. The group received more than 200 responses to the plan from residents and businesses in the first 48 hours – “and they’re still coming in” – according to David Martin, another founder of the group, who says about 98% of responses have been positive. Members offered architectural, civil engineering, project management and communication skills to launch the proposal.
The plan is “economically realistic and very feasible” due to the layout of the area around Bath Place, which runs down Blackrock Main Street before land plunges again, across the tracks, to reach the shore, which includes the old tidal pool of Blackrock Baths.
“We were shocked by the response,” says Martin, who points out that the group has worked with businesses, resident groups, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council and councilors, among others. “A project like this can only be achieved if we, as a community, unite and work closely with relevant authorities and key stakeholders to make it happen. “
Tom Feeney of Blackrock Business Network says he is “very happy to be a part of this initiative. So far, the feedback from businesses in the village has been very positive.
The Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Action Group, which has commissioned detailed architectural plans, says its proposal meets many of the policies and goals of the council for the village in its local plan for 2015-25.
The proposal follows Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s introduction of a one-way system on Main Street and a substantial increase in outdoor seating and planting during the coronavirus pandemic, to the benefit of traders, residents and visitors.
“A few years ago, Blackrock was run down, but it has improved in recent years,” says Martin. “It’s a late investment: it’s Blackrock’s turn. The DLR council has been proactive over the past two years and has stepped up its game, particularly during the Covid-19 lockdown. It is important to mobilize the whole community for initiatives like this, and the traders have been incredibly engaged. “