There are some positive words in the Liberties LAP about acknowledging the gabled house origins of most of the streets and squares of the area, but despite the fact that the draft LAP has been in production for some time, nothing, in this regard, seems to have filtered down to the Planning Dept.
On the 'Dutch Billy' thread, there was some discussion in recent months of a ten storey redevelopment proposal (Planning Ref. 3840/08) for the corner site on New Row South / Blackpitts, incorporating an existing 19th century warehouse known as 'The Laundry Building', which is a Protected Structure. The application was refused by DCC at the end of September, on the grounds of height, bulk and scale and also on the grounds that the, predominantly residential, proposal would be contrary to the Z6 zoning.
However there isn't a single word in the Planner's report to acknowledge the the site was originally developed as one of the most imaginative and significant pair of houses in the whole 'Dutch Billy' tradition in Dublin. Again despite the fact that the original houses date to close on three hundred years ago, and that there are many unanswered questions about the structure and internal layout of these houses, there is nothing to reflect this in the archaeological report, which looks for nothing more than 'standard conditions'!
Nothing about investigating the existing two storey structure for evidence of original fabric, nothing about recovering the original floor plans of the gabled houses, (which may have incorporated some unusual interlocking around the great central chimney stack to take account of the tappered site) , no specific requirement for the archaeological investigation of the eatrly 18th century foundations.
The pair of houses known as 'The Seven Gables' shown still largely intact but after the loss of the original twin, pediment topped, curvilinear gable profiles
A similar view of 'Seven Gables' with a view of the opposite corner with it's pedimented gables still intact.
A drawing of 'Seven Gables' showing the probable original arrangement of gables.
The LAP is intended to be a spur to the regeneration of the Liberties, but the fact that much of the Liberties was never significantly redeveloped in the generations after the loss of most of it's characteristic original building stock, presents us with the opportunity to recover valuable information on the original streetscapes, an opportunity that it would be a crime to miss.
Neither should the opportunity to frame future redevelopment in the light of a fuller understanding of the area's original development (that such an in-dept investigation may reveal), be missed.
IMO, there are 12 or 15 specific sites in the Liberties LAP area, where the original, characteristic, gabled houses survive to a sufficient degree, (or are recorded to a sufficient degree), for these structures to be restored with City Council assistance, in a deliberate programme aimed at creating a network of points throughout the district where the full depth of the historical streetscape could be legible again within the context of an overall, predominantly contemporary, regeneration.