StephenC wrote:I agree! What a spectacularly over the top statement Adolf Luas to say that Smithfield is seen as a "massive failure". What residents are you refering to? The residents of Council houses at the north end that now have shops, a supermarket, a health centre, a gym, restuarants, bars,cafe, a cinema (soon), and cultural facilities. Or perhaps to mean the Council residents on Balckhall Place who have received completely revamped apartments as well as the above. Or maybe you mean the new residents to the area - ie the ones who werent there before!
Its obvious that Smithfeild isnt perfect and there is still along way to go, particularly the inexplicable lack of attention to the southern part of the square. It has its problems and I would have plenty to say about some aspects of whats happened there. But its not a massive failure!
I have recently attended some weekly workshop meetings organised by the Grangegorman Development Agency prior to an announcement regarding a master plan for the redevelopment of the Grangegorman site which will incorporate the new DIT campus as well as an Educate Together school and a health board facility.
Members of the local community have been exploring different aspects of how DIT will affect and integrate with its immediate environment. The one example that seems to have been repeatedly cited at these meetings of how things recently went wrong is the redevelopment of Smithfield. Of course there have been improvements, particularly Shay Cleary's remodelling of the flats on North King Street that were previously in a terrible state. Although Smithfield Square itself has been improved upon I still think it has failed. Many of the ground floor units remain empty on Smithfield, North King Street and on Brunswick Street. The health centre is, I believe, great. However, a flat fee of 120 euro to see a doctor exists as opposed to the usual 50 euro for all the other GP's in the area. The supermarket, Fresh is also very nice but overpriced. Thomas Reid, the bar, is always almost empty. The Gym has a spectacular swimming pool that is only open to adults. I have to drive my daughter to Finglas for a swim. The viewing tower in the chimney has, as far as I know, been closed for some time. The square is a wind tunnel, quite why another smaller open area in front of the tower was necessary is beyond me. Most attempts at cultural events seem to fall flat on their face, the space is just too long and open.The groovy little sound/lighting building at the southern end of the square has always been totally redundant. The gas braziers that used to be lit every weekend are rarely operational. Whenever I've attended any cultural/musical events at Smithfield I've looked up at the myriad of balconies that overlook the square and would be hard pressed to spot more than half a dozen residents actually watching the proceedings. The apartment dwellers and Smithfield don't appear to connect. The Lighthouse cinema is very exciting, a very welcome development that's been on the cards for years. Less welcome, in my opinion, is a sign currently on one of the units that reads "coming soon. Paddy Power". Aesthetically I think most of the development looks awful and think it will look really terrible in a few years time. That's a matter of personal taste though.
I've lived in the area for 17 years and was genuinely very excited about the whole Smithfield scheme. Some may see it as a success, I'm not being negative I just think its failed on many levels, in particular in terms of what has been given back to the local community as opposed to facilities for people who reside in the apartments.