Reimagine Dundrum: Local group advocate for ‘village’ feel

by Gazette Reporter
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By Zoe Keane

For many of us, the old Dundrum shopping centre might feel like it’s been there since forever, but it was once a mink farm in the 1950s.

What was once called Glenville House is now where Lidl stands, and following the sale of the shopping centre to UK property group Hammerson in 2015, locals want a say on its future.

Imagine Dundrum is a group of local volunteers working towards a civic and community centre for the village. Chairwoman of the group, Anne Colgan, has many aspirations for Dundrum Main Street.

She told Dublin Gazette: “Very early on (the contractors) committed to engaging with the public. It’s quite unique that developers would agree to engage with communities.”

Anne said the community of Dundrum hopes for a sustainable, healthy, vibrant community and economy through re-inhabitation of the street and to do this, public participation is the core.

Speaking on behalf of Dundrum Main Street, Guilia Vallone, Senior Architect with Cork County Council, said planning for a new village means “not counting cars but counting how many people there are (and) looking at how to make people stay longer.”

Imagine Dundrum want to see retail opportunities created, but focusing on small businesses to bring back the village feel. The group thinks there is a need for a signature building, to meet the need of a modern-day library.

Anne said: “What we want to aspire to goes well beyond books. A modern library facilitates learning spaces, art classes, exhibitions.

“Those (heritage) buildings have survived the centuries. Not everything old has to stay the same but there can be modern takes on a heritage building, street scape needs to be protected.

“The contractors are not just developing a site they’re building a village and their ideas have to reflect to the village character.”

Building heights have also been a strong concern. Imagine advocates for smaller units for people to downsize rather than just for renting purposes and urges that they should also be designed for people with certain disabilities.

Anne said: “We in Imagine Dundrum believe that with sensitive planning and design, and through engagement with local people, a sustainable, modern Dundrum can effectively blend the rich past, the present strengths of the village with its future as a modern urban Village.”

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