Bluebell Homes and Habitat Forum was held recently at The Mansion House with Deputy Mayor of Dublin, Cllr Daithí Doolan (SF) chairing the proceedings.
Hailed as the ‘gold standard’ for future regeneration programmes across urban Dublin, the regeneration and investment in the Bluebell area has been planned and discussed for years now.
Finally, plans are coming to fruition, with 400 housing units, a mix of cost rental, affordable and social units to commence construction in 2024.
Speaking at the conference, Cllr Doolan said: “This is an exciting time for Bluebell and its residents. We have for the first time all the stakeholders under one roof with one vision. We aim to make this community a better, safer welcoming place to live and visit.
“Regeneration cannot be just about bricks mortar and profit. It must be about the community and those who live here.
“We now have a plan to make Bluebell the gold standard for regeneration. We have residents, community groups, local businesses, statutory agencies all working together for the first time. I have every confidence if we continue to work together, we will ensure the Bluebell regeneration plan will benefit the whole community for decades to come. This is something we can all be very proud of.”
Aubrey McCarthy, Chair of Bluebell Community Council (and well known for his advocacy work for greater rehabilitation services through Tiglin) stated there was great positivity and good will emanating at the forum last week.
“We had Professor John Connelly, an expert on housing speak; Hugh Brennan CEO of O’Cualann which delivers social and affordable housing while working with local authorities, and Denise Harris of the Harris Group. “Ms Harris was leading the business community representatives on the day which included the Frank Keane Group, Toyota O’Mahony Family Kileen Group, DPD, Hireco, among others – a really strong representation of Bluebell’s business community across Dublin 12.
“Residents, the local business community, along with the Land Development Agency (LDA) and Dublin City Council have been working together in recent years to exhaust avenues regarding regeneration for Bluebell, and to proceed with the optimum for the area.
“Plans go beyond bricks and mortar, homes and habitat,” said Mr McCarthy. “As highlighted over the years by community leaders such as Dr Tommy Coombes, communities need a local dentist, a chiropodist, they need services and local amenities.”
He continued: “The Luas will soon be going through Bluebell so now is the time to address future planning. An example was given of the new wellness centre at the conference, called the Bungalow in Bluebell. This facility, launched by Senator Lynn Ruane earlier this year already provides services to residents on the ground.
“It is acknowledged that the population in Bluebell will likely triple in the next decade,” added McCarthy. “At least 400 housing units, a mix of cost rental, affordable and social units will go to planning next year and hopefully, construction will commence by the end of 2024.
“Bluebell’s Dr Tommy Coombes was seen as a beacon within the community to bring all the parties together for the Mansion House event,” said McCarthy.
Indeed, Coombes was to the fore of several Bluebell organisations and through Bluebell Community Development Project, took on the task of getting community groups and organisations together, to form Bluebell Community Council. A dynamic force on both committees, Coombes was influential in getting all the working groups, stakeholders and interested parties to the event at the Mansion House.
Two years ago, Coombes pointed out the high number of elderly residents living within the Bluebell community, he pointed out the many buildings within the area and yet, the community had no doctor, dentist, no bank nor major supermarket – not even a secondary school. He noted too that anti-social and drug issues needed to be addressed before the population spiralled.
“As Cllr Doolan said, Bluebell with this regeneration plan can become the gold standard in what can be achieved going forward, when communities, businesses, the LDA and DCC come together to progress the development and services for an area,” concluded Mr McCarthy.