The key challenge is to set out and implement effectively planning policy for the conservation and protection of the areas and structures of special interest in Dublin. The relevant policies are set out in this chapter. This key challenge is made up of two inter-related components:
- To protect the special character of the existing designated Architectural Conservation Areas and Conservation Areas of Dublin city and to continue to identify other areas of special historic and architectural interest and to designate these areas as Architectural Conservation Areas.
- To protect the structures of special interest which are included on the Record of Protected Structures and to continue to review the Record of Protected Structures within the context of future Architectural Conservation Area designations and having regard to the recommendations of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage.
Ensuring that new investment, regeneration and intervention acknowledges and respects the significant archaeological and architectural heritage of the city is a key challenge that can be pursued through appropriate objectives for the protection, enhancement and management of the built heritage, while encouraging regeneration and change. A key element in securing this approach is to continue to increase public awareness of the cultural value and social and economic significance of the city’s built heritage.
Dublin’s tourism industry relies largely on the city’s built heritage, with its unique character and identity as a city of neighbouring but distinct quarters. A challenge for this development plan is to further realise the substantial tourism potential of the medieval city, its northern suburb of Oxmantown (the Markets area, St Mary’s Abbey, Smithfield and Collins Barracks), and the Liberties (including the Cathedrals, St Sepulchre’s Palace, Dublinia, St Audoen’s Church, and Thomas Street).
Identifying suitable and viable uses for certain heritage buildings can be a challenge and since an appropriately occupied building is the best way to ensure its protection, the development plan should reflect this and facilitate such appropriate uses, where these support the over-arching conservation objective.
It is crucial to this concept that people are encouraged to live above shops and businesses in the Georgian core and in the historic radial market streets, mixing living and working as was originally intended.
In this regard, Dublin City Council welcomes and supports the Living City Initiative launched by the Department of Finance on 5 May 2015, providing a scheme of property tax incentives to regenerate historic buildings built before 1915 and other buildings in designated ‘special regeneration areas’ of six cities, including Dublin. The City Council will actively promote the Living City Initiative, with the aim of bringing life back to the heart of the city and, in particular, encouraging owner-occupied refurbishment or conversion of unused and under-used older buildings in areas of Dublin in need of regeneration.