The people of Balbriggan identified areas of the town which were important to them for rejuvenation as part of the Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan.
The Council are progressing the identified public realm projects in the plan and are now seeking more detailed input from the people of Balbriggan on the town’s streets, squares and parks which are part of these projects and how these spaces can work together to deliver high quality public space for the people of Balbriggan.
A number of exciting projects throughout the town centre are being progressed by the Council, including Quay Street, the Harbour and the redevelopment of a number of vacant buildings which have been acquired by the Council and the ‘public realm’ projects are vitally important to the Rejuvenation of the town as the glue that holds the town’s features together.
For this reason the Council has engaged landscape architecture & urban design specialists the PaulHogarth Company as a masterplanning consultant to make sure that all the projects work in concert together and to give detailed guidance to all the individual project teams on matters like signage, accessibility and the use of lighting and planting to improve public spaces.
As part of this work these consultants will be engaging with the people of Balbriggan over the summer months to get a more in-depth view of what a good public space means to you.
This engagement is starting with a public survey. The deadline for taking this survey is Tuesday June 29th at midnight.
This will lead to the development of a Public Realm Strategy for Balbriggan which will be a guidance document for the different project teams working on the town’s regeneration and will help ensure that all the project teams are working together within a guiding framework.
“We’re asking people to talk about how they rate different aspects of Balbriggan – such as the quality of footpaths and accessibility for people that are perhaps using wheelchairs or buggies,” said James Hennessey of consultants Paul Hogarth, leading the project.
“It will also be about the ease with which they can find their way around, but then it’s also about green spaces, biodiversity and vegetation.
“The public realm also includes elements such as lighting and what Balbriggan is like after dark, as well as benches or signage – there is a long list of different elements there and it will be very much a holistic exercise.
“It is hugely important because your first impressions of a place are really influenced by the public realm – it can be a town’s shop window.
“And another role for the public realm is as a way to stimulate private sector investments as well as greatly improve the space or place.
Mr Hennessey explained that an important theme for the public realm will be walkability.
“It is the idea that you can explore Balbriggan pretty easily by foot and that it is easy to find your way around.
“One of the issues that I am aware of is the idea that the railway cuts off the coastline from the town, so we will be looking at how we can help people to navigate easier throughout the town.
“Another element of the Public Realm Strategy will be ensuring consistency. For instance, it would be lovely to see some new stone paving, but you don’t want to have granite on one side of the town and brown limestone on the other.”