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Major Redevelopment Project At Emmet Road Given Green Light

Major Redevelopment Project At Emmet Road Given Green Light – Aidan Crowley explains in detail where we are with this huge development

By Aidan Crowley

An Bord Pleanala has finally granted planning permission for Dublin City Council’s (DCC) flagship cost-rental redevelopment project, which is earmarked for construction at the former St. Michael’s Estate, Emmet Road, Inchicore. Local residents and public representatives will breathe a huge sigh of relief, as it is now five years since the regeneration programme was first announced.

A total of five hundred and seventy-eight cost-rental and social housing units will be delivered under the project. Of these, one hundred and thirty-seven will be allocated for social housing, with the remaining four hundred and forty-one designated as cost- rental.

Cost-rental apartments are specifically aimed at low and middle-income earners, with rents based on the cost of building and managing units, rather than market rates. The Emmet Road redevelopment will consist of one hundred and ten studio apartments, one hundred seventy-two one-bedroom apartments and forty-six three-bedroom apartments.

The regeneration project also provides for the inclusion of a supermarket, café, crèche, community hub, public library and three new public squares. This makes it the biggest redevelopment programme ever undertaken in the Inchicore/Kilmainham catchment area.

The cost-rental plans for the lands at the former St. Michael’s Estate were announced back in July 2018, by the then Minister for Housing, Eoghan Murphy. Then, in December 2020, DCC said that the plans would be lodged with An Bord Pleanala in April 2021. However, the entire project was put on hold, during the Covid-19 pandemic. Eventually, the plans were lodged in 2022 and approval was received in July last year.

Dublin Lord Mayor and local Fianna Fail Councillor, Daithi de Roiste said: “Creating a welcome and sustainable neighbourhood is central to the council’s vision for the Inchicore development. I cannot wait to see this development completed”.

Green Party Councillor, Michael Pidgeon, also welcomed the planning decision. “It’s time to build. This development has had so many false dawns and taken so long to progress. This planning permission is such great news for the area and for the hundreds of people who will have new homes”, he said.

Independent Councillor, Sophie Nicoullaud, who is chairperson of the Local Area Committee, thanked the Inchicore Regeneration Consultative Forum (IRCF) for their support of the regeneration project.

“This project should proceed without delay in collaboration with the local community and councillors”, she said.

In December 2021, local Labour Party Councillor, Darragh Moriarty, said that he worried that too many smallish cost-rental homes would indicate it was seen as stop-gap housing rather than long-term sustainable rental living.

However, the plans now show that fifteen per cent of the apartments will be studios, thirty-three per cent will be one-beds, forty-five per cent will be two-beds and seven per cent will be three-beds, allaying any such fears.

A presentation given by Merritt Bucholz, the design team lead from Bucholz McEvoy Architects, in March 2022, outlined some of the finer details and specifications for the project.

The community hub and public library, with space for exhibitions, meeting rooms and an atrium, will be located on the north-east corner of the development. There will be entrances from these onto a new public square, to be called “Emmet Place”, fronting onto Emmet Road, according to the presentation.

A second public square, to be called “Richmond Place”, to the east, will be adjacent to “Patriot’s Path”, next to the Richmond Barracks complex. Meanwhile, in the south-west corner, a third public square, to be called “Goldenbridge Place”, will be located at the St. Vincent’s Street West entrance to Goldenbridge Cemetery and the Core Youth Service.

According to Bucholz, there will also be a provision for extra public play spaces for young people, behind the community hub and the public library and next to the existing Inchicore Community Sports Centre, which will be retained.

The streets around the development need a redesign, explained Bucholz. The plans provide for St. Vincent’s Street West and the new Patriot’s Path to link to the public squares and streets crossing from east to west, through the project, will be open to the public.

“Supporting this kind of connectivity and permeability through the site is crucial to making anti-social behaviour really difficult. This means that you have a, you know, a development which is now part of the city, it’s not one way in or one way out”, he said.

At the same presentation, Ian Crehan, who is a consultant engineer from O’ Connor Sutton Cronin, said that his team had worked at finding a balance between car parking and encouraging the use of other forms of transport.

“We try to actually encourage the moving away from the car as the primary source of transport. Mobility plans and traffic assessments are being drawn up, as part of the project”, said Crehan.

The site already has established connections to bus routes, the LUAS, cycling routes and is close to Heuston Station (about 2km away), so they don’t want too much parking space, according to Crehan.

“During the public consultation process, we’ve heard a lot about the desire for a cultural venue, for places for music, for places for arts and also places for sports and activity. They’ve tried to do that. Not just inside the building, but also outside the building, to make all of the spaces around it really active places”, said Bucholz.

He explained that an affordable supermarket would be built, facing Emmet Road. “Inchicore needs a supermarket, everybody knows that”, he added.

The plans provide for fifty-six car parking spaces (including three accessible spaces) and fifty-nine bike parking spaces, as well as electric vehicle charging points, underneath the new supermarket.

Most of the apartments will have entrance halls, lots of storage and private balconies, according to Bucholz. In addition, the apartments will have good light, he explained. “Having access to daylight, being able to tell what time of year it is, by the way the sun is coming into your living room or into your bedroom”. he said.

Half of the apartments will have windows facing in two directions, most of these being south and east or north and west. The other half will mostly have one window facing either east or west, he explained.

Building heights will vary across the development, with the highest being seven storey’s and the lowest being two, according to Bucholz. “Having different heights of buildings is important to building a strong public realm”, he said.

Residents will have private courtyard space too, he explained. There will be a courtyard above the supermarket and two courtyards in the centre of the blocks of apartments, he added.

“We think of them as gardens for the people that live in the community, where there will be spaces and benches. They’re spaces that can support quite a lot of biodiversity”, he said.

The plans show an “energy centre” next to the crèche. Rather than having boilers inside each apartment, this facility will be a source of renewable, shared energy, according to Bucholz.

“There is, I think, a common goal to eliminate fossil fuels. And so we’re working very hard and making sure that that’s part of what we do here. It means that we can really reduce the cost of energy generation, which makes the units affordable”, he said.

He added that residents would always have access to nature. “I think that the climate responsiveness definitely has to do with how we manage to incorporate nature into every part of the design”, he concluded.

Meanwhile, DCC’s project manager for the redevelopment, Sandra McAleer, said that the council had investigated fitting a new community football pitch into the project. This would replace the existing pitch at the Inchicore Community Sports Centre, which will be built over.

According to McAleer, there is not currently a space provided for a pitch on the site, but DCC is committed to providing a pitch in the vicinity.

One possibility is a site on nearby Turvey Park, she explained. “It is our endeavour to provide a pitch and hopefully deliver that in advance of the new development”, she said.

Finally, at a recent public meeting at Richmond Barracks, organised by the IRCF, members of the public were invited to submit suggestions for the naming of the new development.

The top ten names that were suggested at this meeting, were as follows:

(1) Liberty – Inchicore and Goldenbridge were in the Liberty of Kilmainham from the 12th to the 18th Centuries.

(2) Barracks/Barrackers/Parade Grounds/Gymnasium – Associated with Richmond Barracks.

(3) Foundry/Copper-Smithy/Round-House/Turn-Table/Power-House/Tool-Shop/Locomotive Shed/Workshop – Associated with Inchicore’s railway, tram and bus heritage.

(4) Fitters & Turners – Associated with the skilled workforce/population of Inchicore/Goldenbridge.

(5) Emmet – Emmet Road and Emmet Hall – Associated with republican hero, Robert Emmet (1778-1803).

(6) William Partridge (1874-1917) – Local labour activist involved in the 1916 Rising.

(7) Francis Ledwidge (1887-1917) – World War 1 poet.

(8) Thomas Kinsella (1928-2021) – Poet and translator.

(9) Eamonn Mac Thomais (1927-2002) – Author, historian and broadcaster.

(10) Christine Buckley (1946-2014) – Activist, State child-abuse campaigner.



One Response

  1. Margaret says:

    This is good news Inchicore really needs regeneration, together with Kilmainham. ASBOS is the bane of the area ,it’s good that it has been recognised and preventive measures are in place.
    I have applied for the Fold housing scheme for the assistance accommodation for elderly to be near my family eventually.

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