Tuesday 18 December 2018

Flats 'no longer fit for purpose' should face wrecking ball

The Pearse House complex
The Pearse House complex

Two Dublin flat complexes built by a renowned local architect are "not fit for purpose", according to one city councillor.

Residents of Pearse House and Markievicz House, in the south-east inner city, have been calling for the flats to be redeveloped, citing concerns over damp, mould and rodent infestations.

Both complexes were developed by former city architect Herbert Simms, who was behind the building of flat complexes throughout the city in the first half of the 20th century.

Demolish

The council's housing committee has decided to request they be removed from the register in order to demolish and rebuild the flats.

"I hear people talking about the dampness and the mould," said Independent councillor Christy Burke.

"You're talking about families trying to survive in units that are not fit for purpose. They don't have adequate heating and you can barely fit a table and chairs in the units.

"It would be the view of most of the residents too, because most of these flat complexes were designed in the 1930s and 40s and they don't work anymore.

"I grew up in a building just like that and we had just one power point in the place."

However, a statement from Dublin City Council's architects division has said there are currently no plans to remove the buildings from the register.

"Dublin City Council has not planned the demolition of any of the blocks designed by Herbert Simms… nor planned delisting of these blocks and there is no current suggestion of changing this position," it said.

The council said it has an ongoing project for renovating flat complexes, including Pearse House and Markievicz House.

Desirable

"Studies will be needed to determine how these can best be brought to a desirable standard and retained in use for a further 60 years," it said.

Mr Burke said he had previously tried to have properties delisted to improve living standards but was shot down.

"It's a very difficult process. I've tried and tried with Ballybough House and we're a long time trying," he said.

"You've all of the culture section and the architects but to delist it, it's a really serious experience."

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