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A last-ditch attempt to save an old pub has stalled a €200m project to overhaul Dublin's Liberties

An Taisce thinks redevelopment of Newmarket Square will “erase” the area’s qualities.

Image: DCC

A PROJECT TO redevelop Newmarket Square in Dublin’s Liberties has been stalled by a last-ditch attempt to save an old pub from being demolished.

Heritage group An Taisce has objected to a proposal by the Newmarket Partnership to construct a number of new developments in Dublin 8, including offices, retail lots, a hotel, apartments and a micro-brewery.

The construction of these buildings involves the demolition of all existing structures across three separate sites in Dublin 8.

Newmarket Partnership, a company set up by Robin Simpson and Martin Creedon, received planning permission last month from Dublin council to demolish several buildings and begin construction in the area.

However, An Taisce has appealed to An Bord Pleanála in a bid to stall the project and save a number of what it has deemed “historic structures” from being levelled.

One such building is a former pub located on the corner of Brabazon Place on Newmarket Square – it most recently traded as Grays of Newmarket Square and also The Red Lion in the 1970s.

The site is a designated conservation area under the Dublin City Development Plan and has been unoccupied for several years.

An Taisce has requested that plans for Newmarket Square be revised in order to retain certain historic structures as part of the new development. It suggested that the old pub could be converted into a new shopfront.

“We are not satisfied that demolition of the building is justified. Although a shell inside, the building’s exteriors are of value not just as historic fabric but because of the effect of traditional plot sizes in breaking down the effects of large-scale new developments.”

new market square 3 The former pub on Brabazon Place Source: Google Maps

Common ground

The plans for Newmarket Square come as Dublin suffers from an acute housing and hotel accommodation shortages, and rapidly rising office rents fuelled by an appetite for space for growing businesses.

When the plans were announced, the developers were keen to point out how the area has “suffered significant neglect in recent decades”.

An Taisce agreed that the Newmarket Square area is in need of development, but the complete clearance of historic buildings is “unacceptable”.

“There is consensus that the Newmarket area maintains an authentic character and sense of historic Dublin that has been lost in other parts of the city and that great care needs to be taken in its development so as not to erase these particular qualities.”

Plans to redevelop the area have been welcomed by many locals, but most also acknowledged the lack of regard for how the buildings would sit in the historic suburb.

Architect George Boyle, who designed the nearby Teeling Whiskey Distillery, told Fora previously she is not against developing Newmarket Square but labelled the look of the new buildings “insipid”.

Capture1111111 An artist's impression of the new developments Source: Newmarket Partnership

Objections

When plans were announced, an online petition was set up anonymously and called to “save Newmarket Square from greedy developers”. It amassed over 3,000 signatories.

There have also been over 30 third-party observations sent to the council by Liberties residents and businesses, the majority of which object to some aspect of the planned new scheme.

Several of the objections were made by pop-up markets, such as the Dublin Flea Market that have made Newmarket Square their home over the past decade.

Dublin City Council previously stated it had “concerns” about the project. It noted it was not sure the development would “contribute positively” to the wider Liberties area.

It requested more information from the developer before it eventually made its decision to award planning permission in November.

A ruling from An Bord Pleanála on An Taisce’s appeal is due in the new year.

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Written by Killian Woods and posted on Fora.ie

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