BusConnects plan threatens heritage of ‘national importance’

Protected structures in Rathgar and Terenure to lose gardens

Plans for dedicated bus corridors to the city centre could result in protected structures  losing up to 6m of garden, according to a heritage report.  Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Plans for dedicated bus corridors to the city centre could result in protected structures losing up to 6m of garden, according to a heritage report. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

BusConnects plans for Rathgar, Terenure and Rathmines represent a “monumental destruction of national, regional and local heritage” according to an architectural heritage report commissioned by local residents.

Protected structures on roads including Rathfarnham Road, Terenure Road East and Rathgar Road stand to lose up to 6m of garden under plans by the National Transport Authority (NTA) for dedicated bus corridors to the city centre, according to the report by barrister and architectural heritage specialist Deirdre Conroy.

Historic decorative cast-iron railing, granite plinths and walls, as well as the architectural setting of protected homes, would be “destroyed by bus corridors”, Ms Conroy said.

Her report, which has been submitted to the NTA as part of the public consultation on three of the core bus routes, said not only would the plans impact on “protected structures, original fabric, craftsmanship and heritage” but will “segregate the community, impact on traders in historic terrace shops, and detrimentally affect the safety of children in the neighbourhood”.

Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála had maintained a strict policy in relation to changes to protected structures and typically refused planning applications when they involved the removal of railings and walls, she said.

‘Unusual impact’

“In my opinion, based on the Dublin City Council and An Bord Pleanála extreme approach to protection and preservation of boundaries and scale of frontage, supporting the significance of original fabric, layout, character and setting of architectural heritage, and the endangerment to public safety by reason of traffic hazard, it would be a monumental destruction of national, regional and local heritage to construct a six-lane highway between 200 residential family homes, protected structures, with narrow village crossroads.”

Substantial 1930s family homes on Rathfarnham Road, which were not included on the Record of Protected Structures, faced a “most unusual impact” because their gardens were on an incline.

“Due to the steep gardens and vehicular access, if even 1m was to be removed from the front boundary the result would be a high step down to the footpath. If 4-6m as proposed are removed, there is no access from the dwelling to the road, other than steps, which would preclude vehicular access.”

Alternatives

Ms Conroy, who is also a Fianna Fáil local election candidate, said “extensive architectural heritage destruction” should not be permitted when the NTA makes its application for the routes to An Bord Pleanála.

“The board must consider the significant architectural heritage in Kimmage-Rathmines ward as a priority in our national heritage and should note that alternatives are possible in respect of underground transport, and overground safety.”

She added: “The NTA must respect the national built heritage, local community, family homes, traders and provide the best alternative, an underground transport system.”

A spokeswoman for the NTA said it was in a process of consultation on the routes and would not comment on any individual submissions at this stage.

“However, each core bus corridor will require a comprehensive statutory environmental impact assessment to be completed as part of the planning application to An Bord Pleanála and architectural heritage will be one of the aspects assessed.”