Transformation of Ireland’s youngest town continues
Two years on from the launch of the Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan 2019-2025, the transformation of Ireland’s youngest town is taking shape, with substantial progress made across a range of objectives in all five of the Plan’s pillars.
The latest advancement in the improvement of the public realm has seen demolition commence of the derelict O’Shea’s building at the Harbour, where work is expected to be completed by the end of January 2022.
Over the period 2020- 2027, Fingal County Council anticipate making a total projected public investment of between €54m - €57m in Balbriggan. To date the Council have made property acquisitions totalling €3.9m in the town, with acquisitions for strategic redevelopment projects including the O’Sheas site, the buildings at De Bruns (comprising 6, 8, 8A, 10 & 12 Bridge Street), 14 Bridge Street and 2–4 Dublin Street.
The Our Balbriggan Leadership Group, chaired by Professor Brian MacCraith, met today to hear updates around the Plan’s Five Pillars: Local Economy, Education and Skills, Community Affairs, Integration & Health, Public Realm and Safe Balbriggan.
In the coming days, homes and businesses in Balbriggan will receive a ‘What Next’ leaflet detailing updates on the physical transformation pieces of the rejuvenation plan. The Our Balbriggan website has also been upgraded, providing more detail on the breadth and scope of work to improve the town’s public areas, attract business, and enhance the quality of life.
The ambitious vision contained in the Rejuvenation Plan was the result of an historic community engagement which saw more than 25 per cent of Balbriggan’s residents outline their preferences for the future of the town.
From a menu of potential improvements, transforming the Main Street and connecting it to a reimagined Harbour area were the top choices across all age groups in a citizen engagement exercise which has become a model for towns around the country.
Significant investment has been made over the past two years, with two new playgrounds, a skate park and an extensive refurbishment of Balbriggan Library, and the repurposing of a vacant shopfront as the Our Balbriggan Hub, signalling the initial physical improvements that the Council is making to the town.
Following the purchase of 2-4 Dublin Street a creative arts and digital space will be developed which will strengthen the public and civic quarter of the town. It is expected that a design team will be appointed to the project by the end of 2021, with the €3.3 million redevelopment project expected to be complete by 2024.
Meanwhile, the buildings at De Bruns on Bridge Street were purchased in October 2020 along with almost one hectare of natural green space and river to the side and rear of Millpond Park.
14 Bridge Street was purchased in September 2021 and an Integrated Design Team which is expected to be appointed in 2022 – will oversee the redevelopment of this site and the town’s urban core with a green corridor along the River Bracken, connecting Bridge Street, Quay Street and the Harbour.
“Now that we are two years in, we are starting to see the kind of progress envisaged by the people of Balbriggan when we encouraged them to get involved and have their say in shaping the town's future development,” said Professor Brian MacCraith, Chair of the Balbriggan Leadership Group.
“A huge section of the community came together to imagine the possibilities for their town, we can now start to see some significant progress in that regard.”
AnnMarie Farrelly, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council said: “Investing in the regeneration of Balbriggan remains one of our top priorities and confirms our commitment to help drive growth for businesses and residents in the town.
“The rejuvenation plan that’s in place outlines a number of key projects that will really help shape the future development of Balbriggan – we continue to work closely with our stakeholders to ensure delivery of improved facilities and other amenities that will help the town become widely known as a great place to live, work and do business.”
Emer O'Gorman, Director of Economic, Enterprise, Tourism and Cultural Development said: “The cumulative effect of the progress achieved across the five pillars of the Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan will be a lasting legacy for the town.
“Progress will continue on the local economy, education and training, community affairs and integration, the public realm and Safe Balbriggan pillars in the coming years to provide the people of Balbriggan with the kind of town they envisaged at the start of the Our Balbriggan journey.”