Liberties locals step up push for public access to courtyard

by Rachel Darcy

Residents in The Liberties have said they are “disappointed” that a new block of student accommodation does not provide public access.

The Uninest New Mill accommodation has been open for a number of months in Dublin 8, but locals have voiced their disappointment that a courtyard within the grounds has been gated off from public access.

When permission was granted by An Bord Pleanala, one of the conditions specified was that the courtyard was to remain open for the use of the public during daylight hours.

However, large gates were erected shortly after completion to prevent public access.

A number of locals have now lodged complaints with Dublin City Council, which has told Dublin Gazette that an enforcement notice has now been issued in respect of the matter.

In a statement, a DCC spokesperson said: “An enforcement notice under Section 154 of the Planning and Development Act 2000 (as amended) has been served in respect of this matter.

“As the matter is the subject of ongoing enforcement action, no further comment can be made at this time.”

The Liberties has one of the lowest amounts of green space in Dublin city, despite DCC launching the Liberties Greening Strategy in 2015 in an attempt to introduce more green areas into the locality.

Responding to queries from Dublin Gazette on whether the courtyard may be open to the public in the future, a spokesperson from Global Student Accommodation – the company behind Uninest New Mill – said that it is ”not practical” from a safety perspective, but plans are in place for a new development which will include a public space.

They said: “The courtyard at Uninest New Mill is a private student amenity space for the residents of the accommodation.

“There are residences on the ground floor, and it is not practical from a safety and security point of view to have the courtyard open [to the public].

“We are conscious of being a good neighbour in this community and during development of New Mill we delivered a new public realm and landscaping to Mill Street and Warrenmount Lane.

“Plans recently submitted for a new site adjacent to New Mill includes access to public open space during daylight hours.

“In addition, the proposed development provides for retail opportunities fronting onto Mill Street and a cafe.

“It is envisaged that these will be publicly accessible commercial uses which will be complementary to both the student accommodation residents and the wider community,” they said.

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