Works to revamp Diamond Park and James Joyce Street Park, both in the north inner-city, should be completed this summer as part of a broader council initiative to green the neighbourhood.
Dublin City Council also plans to provide green walls on Commons Street and Courtney Place by the summer, according to a report to councillors on the Central Area Committee on Tuesday 14 March.
The council’s parks department also intends to plant trees across the north-east inner-city and Stoneybatter, according to the report. Staff are working on detailed designs for greening Custom House Quay, which should proceed this year, it says.
The council hopes to roll out an urban tree trail in the north-inner city, said Gareth Toolan, parks superintendent with Dublin City Council, at the meeting. But staff haven’t decided whether it will be a digital map for the trail or a physical one yet, he said.
Councillors welcomed the plans which fall under the Stoneybatter Green Strategy and the North East Inner City Greening Strategy and called for the greening initiatives to be extended to include East Wall and for trees to be planted on Dominick Street.
Independent Councillor Cieran Perry said he fully backed the work. He’d like to see it in his area of Cabra and Glasnevin too, he said.
Green Party Councillor Janet Horner said that the north inner-city is the least green area in Ireland. “People are suffering hugely because they live in an area that is so lacking in greenery.”
Horner asked for a report on the progress for greening East Wall, especially after trees on West Road were felled recently. “I want to know what’s happening, where the money is coming from and when it’s going to happen,” said Horner.
Labour Councillor Joe Costello said that he has written to the Taoiseach’s Office to ask them to incorporate East Wall into the regeneration efforts aimed at the north-east inner-city, following a motion passed at the area committee.
“It may not look it but we have been putting a lot of time into East Wall,” said Toolan, the parks superintendent.
Many of East Wall’s streets are narrow, he said, which makes it tricky to find good spots to plant trees. But the council fully intends to work on greening that area this year, said Toolan.
He is also looking at the possibility of planting temporary pocket forests on vacant sites in the north-east inner-city, he said. “This year I’m hoping to look at pushing that forward.”
Costello asked the council officials to consider planting some trees or shrubs on Dominick Street too. “Dominick Street is even more barren than East Wall,” he said. “There is no shrubbery, good, bad or indifferent.”
Redeveloping Constitution Hill
Dublin City Council plans to ramp up the number of social homes in its Constitution Hill complex from 89 to 124 as it redevelops the site in the coming years, said a report to councillors at Tuesday’s Central Area Committee meeting.
In January, the council ran a public consultation on its plans for the site, which involve a mix of new-build homes, and retrofitting the existing flat complex.
The all-in cost for the project is expected to be around €58 million, said Alice Simington, a council senior executive officer.
A presentation to councillors shows 42 one-bedroom homes, 64 two-bedroom homes and 18 three-bedroom homes. There’s also a childcare space. The highest block is set to be seven storeys.
Eleanor Ryan, an architect with Dublin City Council, said that the council hopes to start building the first phase of 45 new homes next year and to complete those by 2025.
The second phase of 79 homes should be completed in 2027, she said.
Councillors welcomed the plans but expressed doubts about the timeframe. After all, some families are still living there.
And in 2018, Dublin City Council officials said that building work to redevelop Constitution Hill would start in early 2019. “The time frame is quite tight, but I think it’s achievable,” says Sean Smith, an area housing manager, at the time.
At Tuesday’s meeting, independent Councillor Cieran Perry asked of the current plans: “Are the timescales realistic? They seem quite tight to me.”
Simington said that most residents in blocks included in the first phase have moved out now.
“In terms of the timeframe it is usual that you would estimate about a year between Part 8 approval and commencements on site,” she said.
The council’s internal planning permission process, known as Part 8, requires councillors to vote on plans. The plans for Constitution Hill are due to be presented to the full council for a vote next month.