Tallaght Community Council have submitted their proposals for the Tallaght Town Centre Masterplan.
In a statement released today they say the original Tallaght Town Centre Masterplan was adopted in October 2006 (and extended with no changes in 2011) in order to facilitate the development of Tallaght Town Centre as a vibrant sustainable town centre.
One of the main elements cited in this plan was to provide an attractive built environment focused on creating a place where people can be proud of and where people want to be.
TCC say while these objectives are welcomed, it is questionable if they are being achieved.
The development of the town centre stalled during the recession shortly after the masterplan and the physical outcomes in terms of the quality, design and maintenance of the new buildings (mostly apartment over retail) has been very mixed.
As per the TCC statement:
“Sadly, we now have a serious amount of empty street level retail units in the Belgard Square area.
“We also have a very high proportion of the 20+ apartment blocks in the town centre run as fully private rented schemes with increasing rents and with very few home-owners able to set up a long term home in the town centre.
“TCC are now calling for a mature reflection in this Masterplan. We strongly question the continuing with apartment-only housing in the Town Centre area and zoning for “mixed use” instead of “commercial” or “light industrial”. It appears to be creating a set of circumstances where successful and large employing businesses are leaving the town centre, to flip the sites for apartment over retail development. It is creating a drain on jobs in the town centre area, which will not contribute to a vibrant, sustainable area in the medium to long term.”
Among the 70 requests submitted last week by TCC in the Part 8 consultation, they include constructive strategic suggestions to inject vibrancy to the area and to attract home buyers into the town centre as the national economy recovers as well as tactical suggestions. Here are some highlights,
- Greater Housing Mix for the Town Centre– more town houses, duplexes and family centric developments. Less courtyard apartment blocks schemes being developed for a full private rental model – this does not attract and create engaged communities to grow.
- Less austere, hard landscaped frontage on streets & plazas – more formal gardens to the front of buildings, with modest set backs and significant landscaping and water features to create pleasant public areas. Make it compulsory for every building to have a piece of public art, publically accessible.
- Better Designed buildings– less of the very modern, heavily squared with flat roof building design – this is creating a very monotonous and bland street scape, not an attractive environment.
- Move away from large scale apartment over retail for the next 5 years – this model has not been successful in the 10 years it has been in effect since 2006 – largescale vacancy rates evidence a lack of demand for this model.
- Encourage high quality employment hubs in Cookstown in growing sectors which leverage its unique location in SDCC walking distance to a hospital, the las and the ITT – e.g. Med Tech, Life sciences, Pharma.
- Look at & encourage alternative commercial uses for vacant warehouse site – Film Industry.
- Upgrade and redesign the Whitestown Business Park frontage onto the N81 to mirror that of Cityweston the N7. The uplift to the visual amenity would be immediate. It would also signal “Tallaght is open to Business“.
- Create Cookstown village– exactly like Citywest village development beside Citywest Business Park – plan for attractive family homes to be delivered.
- Create a unique outdoor entertainment venue in the town centreto augment the arts hub designation. Like the Waterford city’s “Orangery” or the Ballykeefe’s amphitheatre in Kilkenny.
- Create a strategic local objective to see an indoor farmers market and artisan studio venuein the historic quarter in Tallaght village.
- Seize the unique #GatewayToTheMountains location and geography of the County Town – build an attractive viewing tower onto the panoramic views of the mountains. Think of how the Guinness Hopstore Sky bar helped create a thriving tourism amenity and industry in the Liberties.
- Create a walking/outdoor hub in Tallaght–aligning existing parklands, waterways, hotels and restaurants
- Link the Luas terminus and the Dublin Mountain Way with a formal walkway routeto increase the profile and usage of this existing national walking trail.
- A 7 Point Tourism plan for the Tallaght Town Centre and Sean Walsh Park
- Limit more take-awaysin retail centres – we have a serious over concentration of this retail type now which does not contribute to a vibrant streetscape or create a thriving footfall into the area
The full TCC submission is available to anyone who wishes to request it – [email protected]. It is no longer available on the public SDCC consultation portal now the Part 8 has closed.
Voluntary Chairman of TCC Gerry Stockil said:
“Active listening to the community view in how their town is run is integral to any plan for Tallaght.
“We have again taken a lot of time to reflect & draft over 70 constructive requests and ideas for the next phase of development of the Tallaght town centre.
“The proof of the pudding will be in the eating & the next draft we see from SDCC in a few months time. We expect to clearly see the community ideas taken on board.”