Re: Re: Thomas Street & James Street, Dublin!
While the QBC may not deliver the quality of street environment that some would hope for on Thomas Street (the layout of the street essentially remains the same and the street is still very much viewed as a traffic route rather than a place that people might wish to linger on), the work undoubtedly will improve on the current dismal condition of the street. It also comes at a time of further improvements to the street and area which should hopefully start to stimulate some new development and rejuvenation.
The High Street dual carriageway will be the focus of a Part VIII to be published shortly considering how to make this section of street more hospitable to pedestrians. There are two new distillery developments opening in Newmarket in the coming month, bring a traditional industry back to the area, and a new cultural use mooted for the former St James’s CoI Church. These will add to the various cultural attractions on the area. DCC have also had long standing plans to refurbish the former graveyard of St James’s as a public park.
A recent application for a new student residence was submitted for one of the sites on the Digital Hub and a new planning scheme for the Hub will hopefully encourage temporary uses to take over some of its many vacant and derelict buildings along Thomas Street. The Hub is kind of getting there…slwoly but surely. Emmet House, an office premises on Thomas Street (not owned by the Hub) is also due to to be refurbished in the coming months which will be a shot in the arm for the street.
The nebulous “Dubline” strategy remains an unknown quantity. It will need to start delivering some tangible results, beyond apps and marketing-inspired initiatives. The wasteful proposed Dubline visitor centre at Barnardo’s Square received permission a couple of months back. Its hardly the best way to spend a million or so…I think the money should be invested in small grants to encourage people to improve their premises, perhaps along these lines..targeted grants to stimulate new investment:
Business continues to ebb and flow on Thomas Street and the biggest issue for businesses on the street is commercial rates and the lack of big draws to get customers coming back to the street. The retail profile of Thomas Street is very mixed to say the least. There is little or no reason to shop there beyond local needs such as supermarkets etc. It needs some new ideas.
The street remains a puzzle and its future remains uncertain. However, hopefully the impetus of the past year, which saw a voluntary group push for a greater focus on the street by DCC and other agencies, will lead to longer term growth and redevelopment.