A POPULAR architectural website has branded Dublin City Council's new on-street advertising panels "an unmitigated disaster".
The website, Archiseek, now wants the council to halt the installation of the free-standing billboards pending a review and investigation.
Outdoor advertisers JC Decaux have been permitted to put up 120 of these panels in return for a bicycle rental scheme.
But many opponents of the scheme have emerged to date including the National Council for the Blind of Ireland, An Taisce and the Dublin City Business Association.
One of the major sticking points has been the obstruction of footpaths by the metal-framed panels.
The deal between the council and JC Decaux requires the French-owned company to supply four rental bikes for each on-street panel, amounting to a total of 480.
Archiseek said "fortunately" only half of the billboards were granted planning permission.
"Since then, it has become apparent that the scheme is an unmitigated disaster and epitomises what-not-to-do when engaging in urban planning," the website claimed.
"Already some of the units have been withdrawn, having been blatantly unsafe and manifestly hazardous," it added.
Archiseek claimed: "Outrageously, this scheme has simply been dumped on poorer and working class areas. No billboards for a southside dual-carriageway such as Donnybrook, yet plenty for North King Street and Dorset Street and also Malahide Road in Coolock."
Dublin City Council completely refuted the website's allegations. It said the process by which the advertising agency was procured was "open and transparent".
After being awarded the contract in December 2006, JC Decaux applied for planning permission to erect 120 advertising panels. A total of 72 were granted planning permission.
Under the terms of the contract, the level of amenities depended on the number of permissions. "It was agreed that 450 bicycles would be made available at 50 stations located in the city centre," the council said. The locations are now being identified and the city bike scheme will be launched during Mobility Week at the end of September.
"Dublin City Council has exclusive use of all JC Decaux advertising panels, at no cost, for public information campaigns until August 31," the statement said.
From September 1, the city council will acquire 38 of these panels, also at no cost, the local authority added.