Bridgefoot Street park site transferred to parks department


A vote to transfer Bridgefoot Street park to the Parks and Landscapes department of the Dublin City Council was passed at City Hall on February 15th.


This comes as a major development in a long battle to bring more green spaces to the Liberties area, according to Cllr Tina MacVeigh, who got involved in the Bridgefoot Street campaign two years ago.


“Now that parks have control of the site, it can proceed with actually building,” Cllr MacVeigh said.


“The next step will be consultations on the design concept with the local community.”


The local community have been campaigning for the development of a one hectare park at the site bounded by Bridgefoot Street, Island Street and Bonham Street since the demolition of the Bridgefoot Street flats in 2003.


Since the land was rezoned to a Z9 zone for recreational use in May 2016, commitment to funding has been provisionally agreed upon and a group of architects have joined up with the residents. Workshops to come up with the design concept are expected to begin within the coming weeks.


One of the main obstacles the campaign faced was trying to convince Dublin City Council that green space had more worth at Bridgefoot Street than more residential units despite the housing crisis.


According to the 2011 Census, the Liberties is the most densely populated community in the country with 23,000 residents. As many as 15% are under the age of 18. There is currently only 0.7m square of green space in area per person, falling far behind the World Health Organisation’s suggestions of 9m square per person.


“There’s been a lot of pressure on the Council to provide homes in the city and Bridgefoot Street was originally zoned for that,” said Cllr Mac Veigh. “But that doesn’t make sense from an urban planning point of view.


“The Liberties is 84% behind the desired benchmark when it comes to the ratio between green space and the number of people you have living in an urban setting and this is the last possible space you could have a park.”


Cllr MacVeigh commended the work of the campaign committee and the support of the wider community through local events, social media attention, public meetings and door-to-door canvassing which she said was crucial to the campaign’s progress.


“Around here people get ignored by elected representatives because they think the people don’t care,” she said. “That’s the beauty of campaigns like this because that’s where the community voice comes out.”


The committee meets every Tuesday at the Mendicity Institution, Island Street, at 7pm and welcomes all who want to support the campaign which hopes to see Bridgefoot Street park come to fruition by the end of 2018.
“It’s our right to have that park,” said Cllr Mac Veigh. “It isn’t a luxury. We have the right to live in a safe sustainable environment and the green space is part of it.”

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