‘Very feasible’ seafront scheme would see plaza built over Dart line in Dublin suburb

Terraced plaza would be raised over railway line to reach shore of south Dublin suburb

Seafront plaza: an artist’s impression of the scheme proposed by Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Group

Seafront plaza: an artist’s impression of the scheme proposed by Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Group

 

A seafront plaza has been proposed for the south Dublin suburb of Blackrock under a plan developed within the local community.

The substantial scheme would see a raised and terraced plaza built over Bath Place, a large, publicly owned space next to Blackrock Dart station that is currently a car park and bus terminus.

The plaza would extend over the railway line to the shore of Dublin Bay, connecting nearby shops, bars and restaurants to the seafront and beach, and to the neighbouring Blackrock Park, as well as to the railway, the current coastal cycle route, and any future cycle and pedestrian routes around the bay.

The proposal aims to increase “the liveability of our village for the community and visitors”, according to Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Action Group, whose plan also includes two storeys of underground parking below the plaza, for about 100 cars and 200 bicycles, with existing taxi and impaired-mobility access to the train station being retained, alongside improved buggy and wheelchair access to the beach.

“This concept provides us with a unique opportunity to create a mobility hub and civic plaza in our village with equal access for all, including to the seafront and beach,” says Sorcha Brady, one of the founders of the action group, whose volunteers have been working on the idea for about a year, together with Blackrock Business Network.

An initial proposal ( Blackrock Seafront Plaza (Summary Overview), Blackrock Seafront Plaza: Concept for a New Public Amenity) that has been circulated informally since last Wednesday include an aerial photograph of the area targeted for improvement and an artist’s impression of the new plaza. The group received more than 200 responses to the plan from residents and businesses within the first 48 hours – “and they are still pouring in” – according to David Martin, another founder of the group, who says about 98 per cent of the responses have been positive. Members have volunteered architectural, civil-engineering, project-management and communication skills to initiate the proposal.

The plan is “economically realistic and very feasible” because of the layout of the area around Bath Place, which dips down from Blackrock’s main street before the land dips again, on the other side of the railway line, to reach the shoreline, which includes the former Blackrock Baths tidal swimming pool.

“We’ve been bowled over with the response,” says Martin, who stresses that the group has been working with businesses, residents’ groups, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, and councillors, among others. “A project like this can only be realised if we as a community come together and work closely with the relevant authorities and key stakeholders to make it happen.”

Seafront plaza: Bath Place, ringed in yellow, is currently a car park and bus terminus next to Blackrock Dart station. Source photograph: Google Earth
Seafront plaza: Bath Place, ringed in yellow, is currently a car park and bus terminus next to Blackrock Dart station. Source photograph: Google Earth

Tom Feeney of Blackrock Business Network says it is “very excited to be a part of this initiative. So far the feedback from businesses in the village has been really positive.”

Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Action Group, which has commissioned detailed architectural plans, says its proposal delivers on many of the council’s policies and objectives for the village in its local area plan for 2015-25.

Seafront plaza: an artist’s impression of the scheme proposed by Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Group. Illustration by Sdesign, based on architectural design by Lawrence & Long Architects
Seafront plaza: an artist’s impression of the scheme proposed by Blackrock Village Rejuvenation Group. Illustration by Sdesign, based on architectural design by Lawrence & Long Architects

The proposal follows Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s introduction of a one-way system on the main street and a substantial increase in outdoor seating and planting during the coronavirus pandemic, benefitting traders, residents and visitors.

“A few years ago Blackrock was rundown, but it’s perked up in recent years,” says Martin. “It’s overdue investment: it’s Blackrock’s turn. DLR council has been proactive over the past year or two and has stepped up its game, especially during Covid-19 lockdown. It’s important to harness the whole community for initiatives like this, and traders have been incredibly engaged.”