New ESB scheme for Fitzwilliam St. must deliver mixed use

1st February 2014
Press Release

In advance of a key vote by Dublin City Council this day week (3rd. March), An Taisce has said a planning application by the ESB for Fitzwilliam St must prioritise the re-population of the area.

"At night there is hardly a lit window along Fitzwilliam St and the ESB's ultimate planning application must redress this" said An Taisce Policy Director James Nix.

“Dublin's South Georgian quarter needs to have life breathed back into and the ESB project is vital in kickstarting that process”, he continued.

The best way to deliver residential along the street is by a faithful recreation of the street frontage, according to An Taisce. Acknowledging that there is only photography to go on, the house frontages should be based on the houses as photographed at the time. The redevelopment must see 16 active doorways, perhaps each door giving access into a building of up to 5 homes. This multi-home model has worked very effectively on North Great Georges Street. “Life on Fitzwilliam Street after 6pm is sorely missing. Georgian Dublin needs that vibrancy back - and the ESB has its part to play”, Mr Nix said.

Commenting on the view that re-building homes on Fitzwilliam St could reduce the volume of office space envisaged by the ESB, Mr Nix said “that this does not need to be the case. An Taisce realises that to finance the project the ESB wishes to get double the amount of office space that is currently on the site. However, there are other neighbouring sites that would enable a far more comprehensive and coherent redevelopment.”

The ambition shown by the ESB can bring life back to the street - and also retain leading employers in the city centre, according to An Taisce. There's the prospect of win-win here. Let's seize it.

ENDS

For further information, please call:

James Nix, Policy Director, An Taisce Tel: +353 86 8394129

Charles Stanley-Smith, Communications, An Taisce Tel: +353 87 2411995

email: publicaffairs@antaisce.org

An Taisce The National Trust for Ireland

www.antaisce.ie

Notes:

The current vision for Georgian Dublin is as a residential district and in this context a mixed-use scheme, with residential use fronting Fitzwilliam Street, would be more appropriate. This would also allow for reconstruction of the sixteen houses demolished in 1963, which many people want to see, and which is provided for in the current Dublin City Development Plan. 2013 has seen a big increase in change-of-use applications from office to residential in the north and south Georgian areas of the city following introduction of a levy exemption for residential conversion of Protected Structures. Residential regeneration of Georgian Dublin had major benefits for local businesses and investment in the wider historic fabric of the area.