Wednesday 29 July 2009

Dolphin House regeneration plans set for autumn

PLANS TO redevelop Dolphin House, one of Dublin’s largest and most troubled flat complexes, are to get under way in the autumn, according to Dublin city manager John Tierney.

Mr Tierney said he planned to appoint an architect in the coming months to begin the development of a master plan for the regeneration of the 1950s flat complex on the Grand Canal in Dolphin’s Barn.

The council intended to plan for the estate’s regeneration, despite cuts in public finances and the collapse last year of regeneration projects in five similar flat complexes in the inner city.

“One of the things we’ve learned from the past is that the level of preparation done in the down times is critical when an upturn comes . . . I’m hopeful that the Government will prioritise regeneration in the future,” Mr Tierney said.

He said he could give no date for when the redevelopment of the complex would begin, but the council would do everything in its power to ensure that Dolphin House was regenerated.

Mr Tierney was speaking at the launch of a report from the Dolphin House Community Development Association, which found that more than two-thirds of people living in the flat complex wanted it demolished.

With about 920 residents, the complex is second only in size to Ballymun. For more than 20 years, the estate has been blighted by drug dealing and other serious crime but the report found that the majority of people wanted to stay in the estate.

“Regeneration of Dolphin House and Dolphin Park offers the potential to end a cycle of poverty and social disadvantage in this large community,” Rory Hearne, regeneration worker with the development association, said.

Now was the ideal time to regenerate the estate, he added, as the costs of reconstruction were much lower than in recent years.

“As Dolphin is at the heart of a key area of Dublin city, regeneration also has the potential to create knock-on economic and social benefits and job-creation opportunities for the surrounding community.”

The report found that 82 per cent of residents want significant regeneration, with 67 per cent wanting full demolition and 70 per cent wanting to stay in the estate.

They said tackling the social problems of the area must be given as much time as dealing with the physical makeover and called for no delays in the regeneration.

Irish Times

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