Kilbarrack neighbourhood centre in danger of being shelvedGary Ibbotson 25 May 2023
The proposed Greendale Neighbourhood Centre in Kilbarrack, which was originally planned in 2017 is in danger of not progressing after an assessment report found that it would not be value for money.
Earmarked to be located on a greenfield site at Thornhill Drive near Greendale Road, the centre was to promote “social inclusion” that could be used “from the very young to the elderly,” says Dublin City Council.
The centre would facilitate a variety of activities and events.
The local authority says the motivation to construct the centre was based on “multiple groups seeking accommodation or improved premises in the area” and a “dearth of good quality fit for purpose neighbourhood facilities.”
It was envisioned that a boxing club could also operate out of the centre.
However, in 2020 it was decided by DCC that cost-benefit analysis and a needs analysis would need to be carried out before the project could be progressed.
These studies were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and were only completed by Mazars in 2022.
According to the council, the analysis would determine “whether the proposed centre should be progressed as planned, based on an assessment of the objectives, costs and limitations of the project.”
The report found that the estimated cost of the project had increased significantly since 2017.
The original funding sought by the council was €3.25 million, with Mazars finding that that current cost of the project would be in region of €5.4 million.
This increase was due to inflation and the cost of building materials.
“This high level estimate does not include the professional fees that would also be associated with the project,” the council says.
The report also says the annual maintenance of the centre would come in at around €150,000 while the revenue generated by community groups would “not be sufficient to cover the costs.”
The council would also struggle to find an anchor tenant for the facility – which was originally flagged to be a childcare group – as “there are currently sufficient childcare facilities already in close proximity to the proposed Centre, and there is insufficient demand for an additional similar service.”
Overall, Dublin City Council and Mazars concluded that due to the growing costs and lack of demand for a neighbourhood centre in the area, the facility was “not a viable proposal” and it would not be progressed.
However, North Central Area councillors strongly opposed the report at this month’s meeting calling the decision a “great disappointment” and agreed to not let the matter rest.
Sinn Fein councillor Micheál MacDonncha said that there has been no “talking to the local community” and the report was “purely desktop crunching by Mazars.”
“The assessment doesn’t take into the account the needs of the community.
“The current community hall is very rundown and very inadequate.”
“It’s not acceptable that this project can be closed down based on this assessment.”
Independent councillor John Lyons said the original motivations as to why the centre was proposed still remain.
“They are probably even more acute,” he says.
“The community is looking for facilities.
“The can note the report but we can’t accept it.
“It is up to us to reignite the campaign to get the centre.”
Green Party councillor Donna Cooney said the local authority can “get creative with the space”.
“There is so much that could be happening there and the funding can be found.”