Dun Laoghaire Baths Site

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      From today’s Irish Times

      Councillors in Dún Laoghaire have voted to reject a controversial proposal to redevelop the local derelict baths, which included 180 apartments in an eight-storey block. They have instead agreed to consider five smaller proposals for the site, which exclude any commercial element.
      The decision was taken at the end of last night’s Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council meeting on a motion put forward by An Cathaoirleach Pat Hand, from Fine Gael, and Labour Cllr Aidan Culhane.

      The two councillors called for a subcommittee to be formed, made up of the six Dún Laoghaire ward councillors, to look at the five options.

      Councillors were given eight options to consider in advance of the meeting by acting county manager Eamonn O’Hare.

      Three options had elements of residential and commercial development and included the high-rise proposal originally mooted by the council.

      The eight-storey proposal included 180 apartments, restaurants, a waterworld and indoor leisure complex, which would have netted the council €1.2m and which local residents and the Save Our Seafront (SOS) group had campaigned against.

      As councillors debated, there was noise from SOS supporters, with loudhailers, car horns and whistles, all employed on the street outside to press home their opposition to the “privatisation” of the seafront.

      The chamber was also full of observers from local residents’ groups.

      Councillors voted 15 for the motion (Labour and Fine Gael), seven against (Fianna Fáil) with six abstentions (Green Party, PDs and one Independent), to look closer at five of the options put forward by the manager last night.

      Options A1 and A2 both involved levelling the existing derelict baths structure and providing a viewing platform. A2 included a walkway linking Newtownsmith and the existing Maritime Gardens, at a cost of €2.8 million for A1 and €2.95 million for A2.

      Option B, which Mr O’Hare said “some people favour”, involves the refurbishment of the existing outdoor pools, retaining the original structures as far as possible and building a small garden to the east of the site at a cost of €12.1 million.

      Option C included a 25m indoor swimming pool with a viewing platform on the east side costing €11.5 million.

      Option D provides a 25m indoor pool with a new breakwater, a public garden and coastal promenade and is estimated to cost €15.25 million.

      The subcommittee will be expected to report to a full council meeting within “a few months” on a preferred option for the site having consulted with interested groups.

      The matter will then be referred back to council officials who will bring forward detailed plans and costings on the chosen proposals.

      Cllr Pat Hand said that if the debate on the baths was not taken out of the council chamber to a subcommittee it could lead to the “neglect of other issues in other parts of the county”.

      © The Irish Times

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