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Traders in Temple Bar have raised several concerns with planners over the new €10 million pedestrian plaza proposed for College Green in Dublin.
Among the issues flagged are potential difficulties for guests accessing the carparks of the Clarence Hotel, owned by Bono and the Edge of U2, and the possibility that bands playing at the Olympia Theatre might not be able to park close enough to offload their gear.
The concerns are outlined in a submission to An Bord Pleanála (ABP) by the Temple Bar Company (TBC), the representative group for the area’s traders and cultural groups, which was circulated in recent days among its members.
In the submission on the proposal’s environmental impact statement (EIS), Martin Harte, TBC’s chief executive, tells ABP that the group supports the proposed plaza “in principle” because it will increase footfall.
He raises a number of specific concerns, however, mostly around traffic diversions and access. The plaza would ban all traffic from the busy Dame Street area that borders Temple Bar to the south.
The first concern raised by TBC centres around Parliament Street, the narrow street that connects the quays with the front of Dublin Castle, home to numerous nightspots such as the Porterhouse and The Ivy.
The plaza plan proposes that only buses and taxis will be allowed up this street until 7pm Monday to Friday. TBC is concerned that traffic flow dominated by double-deckers could create excessive fumes and vibration.
TBC also argues that the environmental statement for the plaza doesn’t explain how businesses in Parliament Street and its environs will be able to take deliveries during working hours.
It specifically mentions the difficulties that will be faced with delivering sets for performers at the Olympia around the corner, and by guests accessing the Clarence’s car park.
Michael O’Connor, the general manager of the hotel that is one of Dublin’s favoured celebrity haunts, confirmed that access to its building is “an issue”, but declined to comment further.
TBC called for more information on the plan’s traffic management, including the proposed ban on cars turning south from the Quays over O’Connell Bridge.
Mr Harte also asked if a proposal by Dublin Bus to redesign its network could result in even more double-deckers than envisaged being diverted up Parliament Street.
He also queried how the traffic ban and other restrictions will affect the proposed redevelopment of the old Central Bank building on Dame Street, which backs on to Temple Bar.
Plans for the plaza were submitted to ABP by the council in May, and a decision is not expected until November at the earliest. It will take up to 18 months to construct the plaza, which would be open only to pedestrians and cyclists.