Dublin’s Grafton Street is set to become a construction site for the next 18 months as a complete revamp of the capital’s popular shopping district is undertaken.
The city council is embarking on a €4 million makeover of the famous pedestrian street which will involve ripping up the old redbrick surface and replacing it with a “high quality natural stone”.
In December, reports suggested the project, which is the first resurfacing of the street since the 1980s, would cost in the region of €2.5 million.
A Dublin City Council spokeswoman said today that the €4 million figure is the “first and only figure” given by the local authority and previous costs were “circulated through the media”.
However, independent councillor Mannix Flynn, said he was told the redevelopment would cost around €2.5 million at council meetings and questioned why funding had increased once the project was cleared by officials.
“They give you these ballpark figures of €2 million and when it passes all stages then all of a sudden the budget goes up,” he told TheJournal.ie.
He added: “There needs to be a hell of a lot more scrutiny, that’s a lot of money. We were never given a figure of €4 million, we were told €2 million – the first I heard of €4 million was today.
It’s the way they operate – you get into a culture where no-one questions the odd million.”
Remember the streets surrounding it will remain in a dilapidated way. It’s like having the house with clean windows but the roof is falling in.
Dublin City Council later said: “Any figure which may have been given last year would have been an initial estimate related only to the laying of granite and prepared in advance of the detailed design and procurement processes which have since been carried out.”
The repaving, which will be carried out in five phases, will commence in June and is expected to be completed by November 2014.
The street has not been resurfaced for nearly three decades and the council says road maintenance crews are forced to make repairs on a daily basis.
New public lighting will also be installed and the council will hold a competition for artists to design “on-street furniture”.
Dublin City Councillor and project liaison officer, Kieran Binchy, told TheJournal.ie the council was working with local retailers to keep disruption to a minimum.
“It’s great news for the city centre and it is a well needed investment. The message we want the public to hear is, Grafton Street is open for business and this will improve one of Europe’s premier streets. It’s business as normal when the works go on.”
CEO of Dublin City Business Improvement District, Richard Guiney, said the business community was very supportive of the City Council’s plans.
He said: “With an annual footfall of more than 30 million, Grafton Street plays a key role in attracting shoppers and visitors to the city centre. We are regaining market share and Grafton Street is leading the way with significant increases in footfall over the last 16 months.
“The planned repaving will ensure the physical environment matches the quality retail and leisure offering and will accelerate the continued growth.” Source: The Journal