herald

Monday 20 August 2018

'Ice skating rinks and beach parties' planned for College Green plaza

Artist’s impression of the plaza
Artist’s impression of the plaza

College Green will become a venue for summer beach parties and winter ice skating rinks in plans to transform it into a fully pedestrianised civic plaza.

Plans for the space were laid out by Dublin City Council officials at an oral hearing by An Bord Pleanala (ABP).

Architect Paul Kehoe told the hearing the green will become an adaptable public space.

"A space that works equally well for everyday social intercourse as it does for events and performances," he said.

Along with temporary beaches and skating rinks he suggested films, screenings and markets among the events that could be held at the space.

Officials said the plan was to reclaim College Green as a "pre-eminent public space for Dublin" and create a world class plaza.

"It will strengthen the historic city centre in counter balance to the vigorous expansion of the city centre eastwards," council architect Ali Grehan said.

Central to the plan is a hierarchy of travellers in the city centre, with pedestrians and cyclists at the top and private vehicle owners at the bottom.

Ms Grehan said it has been an historic meeting place in the capital since the first Viking settlement.

Objected

Should the project get the go ahead, vehicles would no longer be able to pass through College Green.

The area would be lined with trees and have a two-lane cycle track.

A number of local businesses have objected to the plan, on the basis it may cause fewer people to travel to the city centre.

The council's head of technical services Brendan O'Brien explained how bus routes could be maintained.

Buses heading northbound will avoid the plaza by using Winetavern Street, while southbound buses will be diverted along the quays.

A turning area for buses will be built at Dame Street bordering the proposed pedestrian plaza.

The hearing is scheduled to last for five days.

It was adjourned yesterday when Robbie Sinnott, of Blind Legal Alliance, said documents had not been sent to him in a format he could use.

The group has made an 8,000-word submission on issues blind people would face on the proposed plaza.

Senior ABP inspector Breda Gannon adjourned the hearing to allow for time to organise documents for Mr Sinnott.

Independent councillor Mannix Flynn has threatened to go to the High Court to secure an injunction to halt the hearing.

It comes amid claims documents which should have been made available ahead of the hearing went missing.

"I've been instructed to continue with the hearing until I'm instructed by the High Court to stop," Ms Gannon said after Mr Flynn requested a postponement.

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