Words: Ellen Kenny
The Dublin pedestrianisation saga takes a step backwards today as Dublin City Council halts plans to make College Green traffic-free.
Dublin City Council have “halted” plans to pedestrianise College Green and terminated their current contract with Paul Keogh Architects. While this isn’t going all the way back to square one, it’s definitely a huge delay in plans.
According to Dublin City Council, the new plan to extend the traffic-free zone from the gates of Trinity College Dublin to end of Dame Street has forced them to terminate their current design contract. This is to comply with EU procurement rules.
Dublin City Council chief executive Owen Keegan explained, “The scope of [the project] has increased by adding a significant part of Dame Street and that brought [the architects] outside the procurement they were appointed for.”
Previously, Dublin City Council planned to lodge a planning application last summer. Previous plans made in 2015 were rejected by An Bord Pleanála in 2018. Last year, the Council announced they would instead delay the application until this summer.
However, in November 2020, Dublin City Council announced plans to double the size of the traffic-free plaza. EU public procurement policies state that any public body contracting goods or services must be completely transparent about the contract.
According to Keegan, the increase in plaza size from the original plans takes the architects outside the scope of what they were hired for. The Council have now decided this means they must re-advertise the contract with the new size in mind.
Mr Keogh of Paul Keogh Architects said it was “extremely hard to comprehend” why the contract was being terminated now. “We started working on this six years ago and it is extremely disappointing that the design work has all been jettisoned because of procurement rules.”
Dublin City Council previously planned to to start the process of pedestrianisation by 2024. However, Keegan has said that rehiring the architects will cause inevitable delays to the project.
Dublin City Council will still pedestrianise College Green on August 7 from 07:00 to 19:00. This is to accommodate the Summer Sunday Carnival in the City.
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