Blackrock baths to be demolished

 

The famous Blackrock baths in Co Dublin are to be demolished after being deemed “dangerous structures” by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council.

There had been hopes that the seabaths, built in 1839 and, with their high-diving board, for many years the leading venue for water sports, would some day be reopened. They were closed in the 1980s.

Well-known for swimming galas, high-diving and water polo, the baths featured a 50m pool and could accommodate up to 1,000 spectators.

The council has a 150-year lease for the facility dating back to 1929, when the baths were taken over by the then urban district council in preparation for the Tailteann Games.

The freehold for the site was purchased from Pembroke Estates Holdings in 1997 by Treasury Holdings Limited, now in financial difficulties.

There were various proposals mooted for development of the site, including in 2007, but none were advanced beyond the pre-planning stage.

In a statement at the weekend, the council said the baths had suffered from extensive weather damage and “from the ravages of the sea, making the structures and adjoining land dangerous for members of the public”.

“The pool structure is beyond repair and the seating and changing block . . . is in danger of collapse. The guard rails to the upper seating area have rusted away and the steps are exposed.”

The pool’s once famous high-diving platform, used by some of Ireland’s foremost divers, has corroded and detached from the pool base.

An inspection also found extensive graffiti and rubbish in the building. It was not feasible to secure the structures to prevent unauthorised access, the council said.

Following an inspection by an independent consultant, the council’s county architect, Andree Dargan, determined the structures on the baths site constituted “dangerous structures” within the meaning of the Local Government (Sanitary Services) Act, 1964 and said measures would have to be taken “to remove the danger”.

“The council is now proceeding to make arrangements to carry out the necessary demolition work, including the removal of the diving platform,” Mr Dargan said.

“The elements of the structures and pool/sea wall that are not considered to be dangerous will be retained.”

Pending the demolition work, the site will be subject to onsite security, the council said.

County manager Owen Keegan said proposals were being prepared to improve the seafront, including at the baths’ location, subject to consultation with the site owners.

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