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Bridgefoot St Community Garden to face disruption ahead of new park

Some of the community gardeners working hard at Bridgefoot Street Community Garden. Photo: Robert Moss, An Taisce.

There have been several updates regarding the planned 2018 Bridgefoot Street Park including what will happen with the existing community garden currently at Bridgefoot Street, and the result of the Part 8 Planning Process for Bridgefoot Street Park.

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Sports & Parks

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16 November 2017 | 0

The Part 8 Planning process for Bridgefoot Street Park has stated that there will be an impact on all aspects of the site during construction; this includes the community garden and allotments that already exist on-site.

However it stated that: “It may be possible for materials such as equipment, plants, seed, compost etc to be saved and relocated during or before the construction period.”

Dublin City Council confirmed this by saying they will be “contacting allotment holders and users of the community garden in the coming weeks to discuss the transition phase between the current allotments/community garden and the new park on Bridgefoot Street. Where possible, assistance will be provided in respect of the removal/storage of materials, soil, crops, etc. during the park works.”

An artist's impression of the proposed Bridgefoot St Park. ©Dermot Foley Landscape Architect.

An artist’s impression of the proposed Bridgefoot St Park. ©Dermot Foley Landscape Architect.

Other details outlined in the Part 8 Planning Process stated that the Bridgefoot St gardens and allotments are to be relocated to a more southerly aspect and it is intended to tilt the surface to improve solar gain, from a northerly slope to a flat aspect.

The actual size of the allotment area has been designed in proportion to other requirements of the park as per the client brief and outcomes of the public consultation.

With regard to ancillary facilities; water, composting, and a tool shed are an integral part of the design and will be developed in detail. Signage may also form part of the detail design, but the extent of signage has not yet been determined. Toilets may not form part of the detail design.

Speaking to Growtrade.ie, Robert Moss, green communities manager with the environmental education unit in An Taisce said: “The community gardeners are supportive of the new park. It will be an important green space for the area. It is also good that a community garden of some shape is included in the park plan.

“Most of the gardeners feel that the present community garden should remain within the park, as a lot of work has gone into its creation, and moving it would be disruptive and an unnecessary expense. A few gardeners feel that the new site for the garden will be in a better aspect for sunshine.” he concluded.

Bridgefoot St Community Garden is due to close on December 31st 2017 to facilitate the creation of the new park, itself part of Dublin City Council’s Liberties Greening Strategy.

This council site, nestled between Thomas Street, Usher Island, and Oliver Bond Street, within South Central Dublin, is one of the most densely populated areas of Dublin.

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Photo: Robert Moss, An Taisce.

While there is no shortage of tourist attractions, shops, and historical interest within this area, there is a noticeable lack of any green space. The average Liberties resident has just 0.7 square metres of green space.

Bridgefoot Street Community Garden is the only amenity in this part of town in terms of a freely accessible site where people can regularly engage in outdoor activity if they don’t own their own garden or have access to a private allotment.

In less than three years, Bridgefoot Street has become a hub of activity and home to a healthy and vibrant ecosystem.

“You can find all sorts of wildlife here at the garden”, explains Sandra, volunteer and allotment holder, “from honey bees, butterflies, swallows, blue tits, falcons and bats.”

The garden has experienced a burst of creativity with musical and artistic contribution. In many ways the garden has informally provided services which have experienced cuts during recession times, such as mental health and rehabilitation.

“I’ve seen so many people come along, just to hang out and chat. The garden has played a huge role in healing depression, addiction and self harm simply by providing people with a space to build strength, community and purpose”, explains Richard Taplin who runs the Dublin Men’s Shed Group within the garden. “If we lose the garden, those who have gained so much, will lose that space for healing and belonging.”

Photo: Robert Moss, An Taisce.

Volunteers flock to the garden on the weekends to join the community and develop their skills and interests in a supportive environment. Robert Moss of An Taisce Environmental Education hosts various educational and horticulture workshops such as composting workshops, herbal workshops, horticultural training and groundwork improvements.

It’s clear that the garden has evolved far beyond being a mere allotment site or green space. It is now a centre of community, a place where people and nature connect and thrive. It is hoped that the current allotment holders will not experience unncessary disruption and that the uniqueness of Bridgefoot Street garden will continue once the new park is constructed in 2018.

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