Re: Re: ‘Dutch Billys’

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This isn’t really the right thread for this, but the point I want to make relates to the site of the ‘Seven Gables’ which we’ve been dealing with a couple of posts back on this thread.

This is one of the promotional images for the ‘Millcourt’ development that looms up behind the retained ‘Tenters’ pub at the corner of Mill Street and Blackpitts.

The development was granted planning permission last year and you can see why, the image is very compelling.

The view down New Row South uses, to the maximum, the framework of the stone ‘Laundry building’ (former distillery and Protected Structure) on the left and the similarly scaled, red brick, Zoe apartment development, on the right, to set off the sharp looking, blue tinted contrasting contemporary vertical vista closer in the distance. The colour scheme is an advertising executive’s dream, even the double yellow lines look like ‘go faster stripes’ into the future.

But this is still haphazzard planning, it’s still represents a random jump in the scale of the streetscape that can’t be readily followed without knocking everything else down and starting again. The Mill Street view is much less compelling. The developers weren’t going to waste any subtlety down a back street like this and loose valuable floor area breaking up the scale.

Mill Street looking north towards the Millcourt development. Looking north up New Row from Mill Street.

The new proposal for the ‘Seven Gables’ site follows directly from the ‘Millcourt’ decision. Naturally it’s one storey higher at 10 storeys just to squeeze the last ounce out of it, but even at nine storeys it would have been more than twice the height of the original streetscape and any gestures towards subtlety have been dispensed with now that the precedent has been set.

It’s hard to believe that streets that started off with such cutting edge urban intentions in the late 17thy century and which were fully developed by the early 18th century, through the vagaries of the shifting sands of fashion and a long decline into tenement squalor, are now on the point of ending up with a disconnected mixture of decent, but suburban scaled, two storey terraces and brash over-scaled multi-storey apartment blocks.

If this process of development without apparent guidance is allowed to proceed unchecked, in a few years time, the only scale of development which won’t be represented on these streets (except by the much maligned Zoe schemes of the 1990s) will be the (average) four storey scale that is the one that is patently the most appropriate to the existing street widths and urban patterns and also, the most responsive to a respect for the heritage of this area of the Liberties.

The Liberties is one of the few areas of Dublin where people still believe in the concept of Heritage, as something real, something to stay connected to. The last thing you want in the Liberties is a random scattering of over-scaled apartment blocks that could have been designed for any site in Dublin from the airport to Sandyford.

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