Balbriggan boost as council purchases derelict units

by Sylvia Pownall

The redevelopment of key areas of Balbriggan has taken another step forward with the acquisition of several derelict town centre buildings by the council.

A group of boarded up buildings on Bridge Street, known locally as DeBruns, and the Home Nightclub, also known as O’Sheas, at the harbour are set for a facelift.

The revamp of Main Street and the harbour are key priorities under the ambitious €30million Our Balbriggan scheme.

Demolition of the nightclub will kick-start the re-imagination of the harbour area to create a lively pier and waterfront amenity.

The purchase of the buildings on Bridge Street will pave the way for the opening up of the town centre to Millpond Park and the Bracken River via a landscaped green corridor.

Mayor of Fingal Cllr David Healy believes that the redevelopment will breathe new life into Balbriggan, which is Ireland’s youngest town according to Census 2016.

He said: “These acquisitions will allow the council to establish a new green corridor at the heart of the town following the River Bracken through Millpond Park, through a transformed Quay Street to a reimagined Harbour, greatly enhancing the public space for locals and visitors.”

Council chief executive AnnMarie Farrelly said design, planning and procurement would begin “in the coming year” with “significant capital funding” set aside in the council budget.

Our Balbriggan Rejuvenation Plan aims to transform the seaside town with its initial target of 20 objectives in its first 12 months largely achieved.

To date two new playgrounds, a skate park, library refurbishment and a facelift for a vacant shopfront as the Our Balbriggan hub have been ticked off the list.

A new greenway will link with a coastal promenade boardwalk connecting the north of the town and Bremore to Ardgillan Castle and on to Fingal Coastal Way at Skerries.

Professor Brian MacCraith, former president of DCU and chair of the Balbriggan Leadership Group which prepared the ambitious plans, said the plan took its cue from a survey completed by over 4,000 locals.

He said: “One of the strong messages from the survey was that people wanted to see action on the derelict buildings on Bridge Street and a more vibrant harbour area.

“This acquisition will lead to that action and forms a central part of our plans to revive the heart of the town and the Harbour and Quay Street areas.

“As the next few months and years unfold, the people of Balbriggan are going to see more visible signs of the transformation of Balbriggan.”

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