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Dublin City Council spent over €600,000 on design consultants for College Green Plaza

Under the envisioned pedestrian and cycle plaza all traffic would be banned from entering Dame Street via College Green.

The proposed College Green Plaza,
The proposed College Green Plaza,
Image: Dublin City Council

DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL spent over €600,000 on design consultants for the rejected College Green Plaza, documents released to TheJournal.ie show.

In February 2017, the council appointed consultants to head up the €10 million project, which would have seen the creation of a European-style space at the front of Central Bank in the city centre. 

The plaza – which proposed banning all traffic from entering Dame Street via College Green – was announced two-and-a-half years before An Bord Pleanála finally rejected the plan in October. 

The council announced in early December that a new application for a public plaza will be submitted in 2019. 

A design team – headed by Paul Keogh Architects/Dixon Jones Architects and including Roughan & O’Donovan Consulting Engineers, Cathal Crimmins Conservation Architects, Paul Martin Landscape Design and Rogerson Reddan Quantity Surveyors – was paid €633,000 by the council over two years. 

In 2017, the council paid out €357, 975 for architectural design services for the proposed plaza. In 2018, it paid out over €275,500, out of a total spend of €1.5 million on the project. 

In February 2017, architect Paul Keogh, said: “We are aiming to create ‘Dublin’s living room’ – a place that is safe, adaptable and friendly for people of all ages, both for everyday social interaction and for major public events, comparable with world-class spaces of similar scale internationally.”

In its final decision last October, however, An Bord Pleanála raised a number of concerns and rejected the council’s plan due to the knock-on effect it said the plaza would have on traffic in general and on bus traffic in particular.

Under the proposed plan, north-south traffic would have remained. Buses and taxis would still run along the same line as the Luas between Nassau Street and Westmoreland Street. 

The council spent €370,000 in involvement with the board’s hearing on the project.

College Green. College Green in Dublin City Centre Source: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie

In a study carried out by Amarách Research in November for RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live and TheJournal.ie, the majority of the 1,000 people surveyed said that the area in front of the Bank of Ireland should be traffic-free. 

Of those surveyed, just 22% said that College Green should not be pedestrianised.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie in November, the council’s chief executive Owen Keegan said that the council was still determined to see College Green traffic-free in the future while the Dublin Chamber of Commerce has called on the council to trial the public plaza early this year. 

A recent survey by the Chamber of Commerce was carried out amongst 400 companies and found that 72% were in favour of the plaza being trialled.

“The pedestrianisation of College Green is something that most people and businesses would like to see happen, but doubts remain regarding how practical the idea actually is,” the Chamber’s Head of Public Affairs Graeme McQueen has said. 

“A short trial, or series of trials, would give Dubliners and businesses in the city an opportunity to experience what a pedestrianised College Green would be like.”

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