Wednesday 26 October 2016

South City Dun Laoghaire: Businesses unveil ambitious 5-year plan to overhaul town


Beth Dooley age 5 with her sister Sophie age 7 at Scrumdiddlys ice-cream shop on Albert Terrace, Dun Laoghaire
Beth Dooley age 5 with her sister Sophie age 7 at Scrumdiddlys ice-cream shop on Albert Terrace, Dun Laoghaire

AN ambitious five-year plan to revamp Dun Laoghaire town has been unveiled.

'The Dun Laoghaire 20:20 Vision' will see the high street area redesigned, a free shuttle bus in and out of the town, and new cycle lanes developed.

George's Street will be divided into four distinct quarters under the plan: commercial, retail, interiors and artisan.

The five-year strategy was commissioned by Dun Laoghaire Business Improvement District (BID), which represents 800 businesses in the area.

Some businesses have complained that the town centre has suffered as the seafront area received investment in recent years.

Designed to be implemented by 2020 its main focus is on the continuing efforts to revive the high street.

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Retailers and professionals operating in Dun Laoghaire say that even before the plan, the town is starting to bounce back.

Scrumdiddly's ice-cream parlour on Albert Terrace has had queues outside it since it opened its doors last July.

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"We have a shop on the northside in Donabate and decided the next step was to get one on the southside, so we got in the car and drove," said Jenny McCormack, the owner.

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"I fell in love with the building we're in now but at the time everyone said we were at the wrong end of the town and, to be fair, we panicked but people take their ice-cream desserts out and go down the west pier now, which was never a destination before," she added.

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Not only has the west pier seen an increase in footfall but restaurants and B&Bs nearby are reporting a positive knock-on effect in trade."None of us imagined it would take off as it has," she added.

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Urban planner Suzanne McClure is new to the town, having just relocated from Dublin city centre. She and her business partner, Laura Brock, set up Brock McClure town-planning consultancy in 2012, out of the ashes of the bust, and now, three years later, they are expanding.

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"We moved out at the start of the year, we were in Fitzwilliam Square since 2012, but we grew out of our space and we wanted a better quality of life, better value for space and better space for our employees to be in," said Ms McClure whose clients include JD Wetherspoon.

Long-timers are also reporting how the town is good for business.

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Robert O'Riordan has run his accountancy and tax practice, Woods and Partners, from Dun Laoghaire since 2000.

"It's a four-way thing: it's near where I live, where I sail, there are schools and it's a transport hub. It's a self-contained location," he said.


In terms of client meetings and winning business, the suburban location is a plus.

"A lot of stuff can be done through emails and online, and, for a meeting, people are delighted to be coming out to Dun Laoghaire," he said.

Fianna Fail councillor for the area Cormac Devlin said the town has emerged from challenges.

"Dun Laoghaire Town has gone through a very challenging period, the recent recession and changing retail trends hit main street very hard. While the council has undoubtedly succeeded in its plan to regenerate the seafront, main street must now be the priority," said Cllr Devlin.

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