Council seeks private firm to deliver Swords Cultural Quarter

by Sylvia Pownall
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Fingal County Council wants to appoint a private project management team to oversee the delivery of the multi-million euro Swords Cultural Quarter (SCQ).

The local authority is about to publish a tender inviting interested parties to bid for the role and the appointment is expected to be made during the summer.

A fund of almost €26 million has been allocated for the ambitious SCQ project which will see a new public and civic plaza set against the backdrop of Swords Castle.

Preparatory work has already been undertaken and site investigation at the junction of Seatown Road and North Street to determine design for the main cultural centre is now “imminent”, according to the council.

Work is also ongoing in relation to conservation works at Swords Castle and is due for completion in May.

Consent is awaited from the National Monuments Service to allow for works to facilitate demolition of some derelict buildings on North Street which block views of the castle.

FCC director of housing and community Margaret Geraghty said SCQ was a priority under the local authority’s three-year capital programme, and she was delighted to move the project to the next stage.

She added: “The ambition is to create a cultural destination which will make an enduring impact on Swords, as well as providing a new cultural centre for the citizens of the town and the whole of Fingal.”

County Architect Fionnuala May said: “Swords has an important and significant town centre and this new civic and cultural hub will respect and enhance the past, as well as creating a landmark of design quality and a destination for local communities and visitors alike.”

Planners envisage a modern streetscape with echoes of Swords’ market town past which will transform the town centre with an elongated civic square linking the old with the new.

The project seeks to link County Hall, Sword Castle, and the Town Park at one end of the Cultural Quarter through to the courthouse and on to two brand new buildings – a civic and cultural centre and a community hub building.

Conservation contractors Kelbuild Ltd are continuing works on the castle upgrading the wall walk which will allow for public access to the battlements from May.

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