Thursday 14 December 2017

It's time to bring our run-down city centres back to life

Dublin's O'Connell Street
Dublin's O'Connell Street
Deirdre Conroy

Deirdre Conroy

It is 15 years since the introduction of the 'Protected Structure'. Prior to that, there were 'listed' buildings and preservation orders, mostly on monumental properties of obvious merit. Then in one fell swoop on January 1 2000, bridges, barracks, buildings of all shapes and sizes were caught in the same net. A catch-all that imposed severe limitations on what could or could not be adapted or extended about a historic building or its curtilage.

It was high time a value was set on our streetscapes; so much of our best were demolished in the '60s and '70s or denuded of fine chimneypieces and joinery. At least, with the vigilance of Dublin City Council conservation officers, there was an end to replacement PVC windows and a revival in timber sash craftsmanship.

Within a few years, and due to the banking largesse, buyers were paying millions for period properties, and spending even more millions doing them up. That end of the market is not in danger of dereliction. New buyers benefited from the collapse and availed of choice pickings in the older suburbs of Dublin.

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