herald

Sunday 25 September 2016

New 'Chocolate Park' for Dublin docklands

regeneration

The proposed new 'Chocolate Park'
The proposed new 'Chocolate Park'

A NEW state-of-the-art park, designed to hold an outdoor cinema and market, is planned for the Dublin docklands.

It was dubbed a 'Chocolate Park' when the idea was first tabled in 2004 as the area around Grand Canal Dock and Sir John Rogerson's Quay was being developed.

Now, a preliminary design for the park is complete and includes a suspended play-pen built into a crane structure, flower gardens and a terraced area.

"The terraced area can be used to organise temporary events such as a small market or concert," reads the plans.

The play area, in the crane, will be the first of its kind in the capital.

adventure

"The crane is an oblique reference to the dockland's past and straddles the southern end of the park to form a fully-enclosed adventure space for children between the ages of 3 and 10," states the report.

However, the play area will not be the only function of the crane. It is planned to project films on to the side of it when running an outdoor cinema event there.

The only issue delaying the progress of the park is Dublin City Council (DCC) becoming the official owners of the site.

"We hope to bring the proposal to the South East Area committee soon but we've been waiting for the legal ownership issues relating to the site to be closer to resolution," an email from a DCC executive on the plans says.

"Once the ownership of the site comes to Dublin City Council, we intend progressing the design to Part 8 standard and bringing it though that process as soon as we can," continued the email seen by the Herald.

The soon-to-be dissolved Dublin Docklands Development Authority (DDDA) previously advised that the project would cost around €192,000.

In a preliminary design for the park in 2006, it was to be based on a theme from Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It has changed somewhat since then, but is still labelled a 'Chocolate Park' in the latest plans.

The site is in the middle of the peninsula between Hanover Quay and Sir John Rogerson's Quay. Residents in the area were consulted during the planning stage. Local Independent councillor Mannix Flynn said he has been fighting for this park for more than five years.

"This is fantastic news and it's long overdue and every citizen in the city will welcome a new public park.

"I doubt in the last 30-odd years there's been such an exciting prospect. This needs to happen fairly quickly and should not be held up, the plans and the finances are there," Cllr Flynn said.

premature

A spokeswoman for the council said it was too early to make a statement on the park.

"Discussions between DDDA and local stakeholders around the Chocolate Park concept are at an early stage, with only initial designs prepared and with planning processes and costings yet to be undertaken.

"It would be premature of us to make any comment at this time," she said.

Site clearance, survey work and soil testing took place last year.

In 2006, it was originally touted alongside three other parks. Those three parks - Chimney Park, North Lotts Park and Linear Park - have already been completed.

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