Making Lucan street smart
A network of local people, groups and businesses are working to make the Dublin suburb more attractive and accessible, and plan to create a vibrant civic, social and commercial hub that serves its large catchment area
Lucan: plans include improving the public realm such as the village green and Lucan Weir on the River Liffey
The village of Lucan in west Dublin is seeking to reinvent itself as a distinctive place amid relatively faceless suburbs and big shopping centres such as Liffey Valley that are putting a squeeze on local shops.
The success of this plan depends on making the village more attractive and easily accessible, to increase footfall and develop it as a vibrant civic, social and commercial hub for the greater Lucan area, which has a catchment population similar to Waterford city.
The Lucan Village Network is spearheading the campaign. It was set up last year to bring together local groups and stakeholders such as the Lucan Chamber (representing business interests), Lucan Tidy Towns, Lucan Festival, Lucan Planning Council and local residents.
Chaired by Fine Gael county councillor William Lavelle, the network’s starting point was a shared aspiration to make the village a great place to live, to visit and to do business in.
The aim was to build on its picturesque character, rich heritage and the number of family owned businesses.
The challenges include traffic congestion and a deficit in parking spaces as well as a lack of joined-up planning and management such as the dedicated management companies that run and promote shopping centres. With the support of South Dublin County Council’s Revitalising Villages initiative, the Lucan Village Network is seeking to address these deficiencies by promoting a partnership approach to bring much-needed vision and coherence to how the village is managed.
“Most importantly, the network has sought to be more than simply a sum of its individual parts translating collaboration into a value-added effort and building a movement committed to the betterment of our village,”says Cllr Lavelle, who represents the Lucan area.
“Over recent months, the network has held a number of thematic discussions where members have thrashed out a common response to address specific issues from traffic and parking to the need to bring more visitors into the village,” he told The Irish Times .
The network has also met with other local groups such as Lucan Senior Citizens and Lucan Disability Action Group. This resulted in a follow-up walkabout with county council road engineers to examine issues of accessibility for all, including people in wheelchairs.
Village green and river
Funding is now being sought from the council’s €165,000 budget for village improvements this year to develop a “unique branding and marketing strategy” for Lucan, holding more events in the village, highlighting its heritage and enhancing its visual attractiveness.
Separately, the National Transport Authority has already allocated €100,000 to develop a traffic management and parking strategy for the village.
Public realm improvements are also planned, including in the areas of Lucan Weir on the River Liffey and the village green.
The network has started work on a Lucan village plan, to provide a three-year framework for its development. It also wants to involve as many local stakeholders and participants in village life so everyone will feel a sense of ownership.
“If the effort put in by this networking produces the actual practical results, then it will be an example of the determination of Irish people to overcome economic problems and to develop their community no matter what their situation,” says local butcher Niall Collins.
Email lucanvillagenetwork @gmail.com or visit the network’s Facebook page for more details