An Taisce wants 'carbuncle' removed
A concrete slab has been built beside City Hall near the entrance to Dublin Castle. photograph: cyril byrne
Heritage group An Taisce has written to Dublin City Council to formally complain about a new concrete slab erected beside City Hall and to request its removal.
It says the structure, which is eight metres long and has three flagpoles, is “highly injurious” to the setting of City Hall, the main entrance to Dublin Castle and the former Newcomen Bank (now the Rates Office), all protected buildings.
“This is one of the city’s iconic architectural ensembles featuring in a Malton print [from the late 18th century] and State visit arrivals to Dublin Castle,” An Taisce’s heritage officer, Ian Lumley, said in the letter.
Cllr Mannix Flynn called it a “carbuncle” while bloggers on politics.iebranded it an “eyesore”, an “appalling erection that toppled over” and an “over-engineered traffic redirection solution”.
A spokesman for the council said the slab was a “temporary structure aimed at increasing pedestrian safety” at the junction of Cork Hill and Castle Street “due to the increased traffic volumes at this location during the EU presidency”.
A source in the Office of Public Works, which is responsible for Dublin Castle, said it had made representations to the council to pedestrianise Palace Street and Castle Street. “Palace Street has already been done and we suggested that something should be built to divert traffic away from Castle Street,” the source said. “I don’t like the look and feel of it, but welcome the idea of giving the street back to pedestrians.”
Hazard to pedestrians
City architect Ali Grehan said the hazard to pedestrians of left-turning traffic on Cork Hill had been identified in an initial report on traffic management options for Castle Street, prepared by the council’s roads design division in August 2011.
In her report to the council, she said the concrete structure had been designed to provide a “visual backdrop” for a row of bollards extending half-way across the entrance to Castle Street to “ensure a change of behaviour of drivers in making the left turn”. Ms Grehan said it was considered that bollards alone would not achieve this purpose. Possible ways of “softening” the slab, which cost €15,000 to build, were being considered in response to concerns expressed by councillors.
Noting that it would cost about €4,000 to remove the slab, she said it would remain in place until a permanent solution was approved. However, Mr Lumley maintained there was “no basis” for the council’s claim that the slab, as a “temporary structure”, did not need to go through a consent process under part 8 of the 2000 Planning Act. He also claimed it was “a waste of public money”.