DCC pulls chain on local landmark


Many people in the Dublin 4 area will have noticed the disappearance of the old public toilet building in Ballsbridge. It was demolished on August 7th to allow for extensive flood relief works to take place. Four significant mature trees will also go from the corner site at the junction of Merrion and Anglesea roads.

As the flood defence works continue upstream along the river Dodder, the local residents will be breathing a sigh of relief, but at what cost to the heart of Ballsbridge? A quick poll of locals showed shock that it happened out of the blue, and displeasure at the destruction of a local landmark, but also hope for the future of the small plot.

Local representatives had been keenly monitoring the situation with the building, however unfortunate timing meant that most of them were on their annual break when the green light was finally given to demolish, an act Councillor Dermot Lacey has referred to as vandalism. He and others have long been seeking a refurbishment plan for the toilets and had backed several previous proposals.

There had been many plans put forward for the renovation or retasking of the squat redbrick building. One such involved creating a clubhouse for the Horseshoe Pitchers Club, who meet on the green area that adjoins the building.

Local architect Noel O’Carroll had designed an interesting structure to sit atop the existing one. Unfortunately, this and another plan fell through due to timing, as when there was planning permission there was no funding and when there was funding there was no planning permission.

On September 1st, Councillor Lacey, angered by what he felt was a lack of consultation, raised the demolition during a Dublin City Council meeting. Gerard O’Connell, Engineer-in-Charge of the project, replied that “it was impossible to build the new flood wall without the demolition of the toilet block, as there was insufficient room in front or behind it.” He also stated that “the toilet block was in poor repair with large cracks in it.”

On the positive side, he went on to explain that they have designed the new wall to be sturdy enough to carry a two-storey building, and that the area available to use will be 150% of the old floor area.

All that is good news for whatever comes next to the prime spot overlooking a small waterfall and right beside the RDS, but what would be best? Those we spoke to were unanimous in what they didn’t want, and less sure of what they did want for the space. Nearly everyone we asked made special mention of a well-known chain of American coffee shops, with several saying “anything but that.”

NewsFour would like to invite anyone with a bright idea to get in touch. Send your proposals to stevenewsfour@gmail.com

By Steve Kingston