Dream plan for Wicklow town centre
WICKLOW’S town centre should be designated a conservation centre, and to ease traffic congestion locally, a bridge linking the port and the N11 should be provided, a UCD team has recommended.
The team from the university’s Urban Design Unit has come up with draft proposals for a set of design and development guidelines for the town.
Traffic, housing and conservation are identified as keys to the proper forward development of the town.
‘Conservation of the existing built fabrid must be enforced to avoid what has been referred to as “the loss of Wicklow’s soul”’, the plan states.
It proposes that a conservation boundary be created around the town core, the Abbey grounds, the ruins of the late medieval monastry, the Church of Ireland Parish Church and the adjacent motte, as well as the Catholic Church, and the rocky promontory supporting the remains of the Norman Black Castle.
The proposed conservation area would also spread out across the River Leitrim to incorporate the two bridges and the terraced housing a Leitrim Place, Strand Street and Bath Street.
Design guidelines would ensure that all future development in that area was in harmony with the existing townscape.
The report points out that a high proportion of traffic uses the town centre streets and that relief for this problem will be found only through a port link to the N11 via a new bridge, pedestrian priority on the main street, reorganisation of traffic patterns, and the enforcement of parking regulations.
Identifying four separate districts in the town – the commerical core, the Murrough/Leitrim river and environs, the Abbey and Church lands, and the Castle Street/Black Castle area – the report advises on the form future development of these areas should take.
With regard to housing in Wicklow, it says that no residential developments should be allowed over the 70 metre contour line, that new developments should be integrated into the existing landscape by exploiting site opportunities, and that there should be greater diversity of character in housing layout design.
The report was commissioned by Wicklow’s Chamber of Commerce, county council, UDC and the Business and Retail Association.
‘Development in Wicklow was seen as “kneejerk”’, explained Anne Lait of Wicklow Chamber of Commerce, who President when the report was commisioned.