Launch of Sandymount Village Design Statement
Minister Jimmy Deenihan T.D. launched the community-led Sandymount Village Design Statement (VDS) in the Sandymount Hotel on the evening of the 7th September 2011.
The Sandymount VDS is an ‘Urban’ Pilot for the Heritage Council’s new community-led National Village Design Statement Programme II and was undertaken in partnership with the Sandymount Community and Dublin City Council. (Sandymount VDS is the second ‘pilot’ VDS to be undertaken under the new community-led VDS Programme II along with the National ‘Rural’ Pilot in Julianstown, County Meath, which was launched by former Minister Ciaran Cuffe on the 7th October 2010.)
For details on the National VDS Programme II, please contact Alison Harvey, VDS PII Manager on Tel 056 777 0777 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MINISTER DEENIHAN'S SPEECH
Speaking Notes for Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for the launch of the Sandymount Village Design Statement (VDS, a pilot VDS for Dublin City Council, Sandymount Hotel, Herbert Road, Dublin 4 on Wednesday 7 September 2011 at 7.00pm
Deputy Lord Mayor, Elected Representatives, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to be here today to launch the Sandymount Village Design Statement, an impressive community-driven initiative, facilitated by the Heritage Council – under the aegis of my Department – and Dublin City Council.
Village Design Statements as a concept are very new – so I wish to thank Dublin City’s Deputy Lord Mayor, Maria Parodi, and the other speakers for your very interesting contributions – you have presented an excellent introduction to what a Village Design Statement, or VDS, is all about.
I know, Deputy Lord Mayor, that you are involved in the Village Design Statement Steering Committee and this in itself indicates the strength of support this initiative has from the local authority. The level of engagement by Dublin City Council is heartening and demonstrated by the presence of both members and officials of Dublin City Council here this evening.
I am very happy to add my enthusiastic support and, indeed, congratulations to all involved, particularly the local people, in the Sandymount Village Design Statement.
VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT CONCEPT AND OBJECTIVES
The key aspect of the Village Design Statement programme is the community-led approach. This is also its great strength – in that it seeks to develop local public participation, with public authorities in environmental management and decision-making matters.
Sandymount is the first urban Village Design Statement and the second nationally, following the successful launch last year of the Julianstown County Meath Village Design Statement, which I believe has been successful and I congratulate all involved in this, the pioneering Village Design Statement.
Although a more rural Village Design Statement, Julianstown paved the way and Sandymount I’m sure has learnt much from its experiences – after all, the high level objectives are more or less the same.
Ultimately, the Village Design Statement programme aims to create a shift towards an environmentally aware and environmentally responsible society – the resulting benefits in terms of enhanced quality of life and community spirit and the promotion of our national heritage are wide-ranging.
The Village Design Statement Programme encourages communities and people of all ages to become actively involved and to have a ‘Shared Voice’ in the planning and management of their local environment - in this case a wonderfully unique and historic urban village famed for its village green, rich architecture and beautiful strand. Not to mention the local area’s celebrated sporting and cultural heritage including the magnificent new Aviva Stadium and connections to literary giants such as Joyce, Yeats and Heaney.
SANDYMOUNT VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT
Sandymount has a particularly well-developed sense of place despite being only 3km from Dublin city centre. Its seaside location, variety of architectural styles, and renowned village character, focused around Sandymount Green, has long made this attractive suburb a very desirable place to live.
Accordingly, the aims of the Sandymount Village Design Statement are several-fold and include; recording what is distinctive and important to the residents of Sandymount to ensure these features are protected and / or enhanced through the planning system and other relevant socio-economic programmes; devising design principles to guide future development within Sandymount and adjacent areas which would impact on the village’s character; providing advice and guidance on local design issues to decision makers and developers; and acting as a focus for the community to participate and collaborate effectively in the local planning process and in bringing forward other related initiatives to enhance other aspects of life in the Village.
The 12 projects that have been devised under the Agreed Village Design Statement Action Plan are creative and imaginative and include key projects such as Village Green Enhancement; Annual Literary Heritage Events; Community Information Centre; Architectural Conservation Area designation and the Historic landscapes study – the latter is already underway with a very successful seminar and walking tour of Sandymount Village held during National Heritage Week – well done to Joe McCarthy, Valerie Jennings and all involved in the heritage week event.
I’m advised that there will be regular updates from the Village Design Statement Steering Committee on the progress of these projects, the implementation of the design principles and the wider Agreed Village Design Statement Action Plan. Although ambitious, I believe that the energy and drive of the Committee will see these objectives achieved.
VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT WILL FEED INTO FINAL ARCHITECTURAL CONSERVATION AREA
I know that an important aspect of the Village Design Statement for the community was that the Village Design Statement process and conclusions would inform and feed into Dublin City Council’s Architectural Conservation Area blueprint for Sandymount and its environs.
I am very pleased that the Architectural Conservation Area process is well underway by Dublin City Council and understandably everyone associated with the Village Design Statement looks forward to the Architectural Conservation Area incorporating much of what the Village Design Statement achieved and identified as important for Sandymount.
VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT PROCESS AND THE OVERALL PLANNING PROCESS
It is important that the Village Design Statement process is properly linked to the statutory planning process through planning authorities, stakeholders like the Heritage Council and local communities agreeing where best the process should be deployed and then arranging for the necessary work to be carried out.
I believe that City/County Development Plans and Heritage Plans could be effective mechanisms to identify locations that would benefit from the Village Design Statement approach, setting the scene for a planned approach and adding value to statutory planning through participatory community based input.
GOVERNMENT POLICY ON ARCHITECTURE
The objectives of a Village Design Statement as the one I’m launching tonight for Sandymount are at the centre of my Department’s Government Policy on Architecture 2009-2015. This policy provides the appropriate framework for architectural policy nationally and places an emphasis on sustainable development of the environment and urban design, incorporating architectural heritage in a holistic integrated manner, while encouraging and supporting high quality modern architecture. The policy complements and supports the Government’s wider economic strategy in areas such as Built Environment research and qualitative place-making.
The quality of our built environment profoundly affects the quality of our everyday lives. This understanding is one of the key drivers behind the design and continual regeneration of our built environment and is the reason that so few people are passive when it comes to holding and expressing a view on whether that quality is being addressed or neglected in their local, national or even in the international environment. This is indeed very evident in the commitment of the local community in Sandymount in developing the Village Design Statement initiative.
Sandymount has a strong tradition of community action and involvement, helped by being a relatively compact village surrounding the centrepiece Sandymount Green. Another factor is that the village is not on a main thoroughfare like other villages that have become fused into the city.
SANDYMOUNT VILLAGE DESIGN STATEMENT STEERING COMMITTEE
The Village Design Statement approach depends very much on an active, dedicated and committed local community.
The Village Design Statement Steering Committee has filled this role and their commitment to the overall Village Design Statement process deserves special recognition this evening. This was very much facilitated by the key ingredient of a community person being the chair of the Committee. As Chair, John McAlinden, deserves great credit for working with others in the community and for driving the creation of a Village Design Statement for the area.
It is essential that the members of this hugely empowered local group will continue, with the assistance of the statutory bodies, to be active for many years to come during the implementation of the Village Design Statement.
PARTNERSHIP OF THE COUNCILS - THE HERITAGE COUNCIL AND DUBLIN CITY COUNCIL
The Sandymount Village Design Statement is a robust collaborative and partnership approach between the Heritage Council, Dublin City Council and the community of Sandymount.
The Sandymount and Julianstown Village Design Statements – an urban and a rural approach – are now established models for other groups to follow and for future community planning in Ireland.
It is particularly encouraging to see the involvement of the local schools in the overall village design process.
I would like at this point to express my thanks to Alison Harvey of the Heritage Council for her dedication to the task of facilitating both Sandymount and Julianstown and also to Michael Starrett, Chief Executive of the Heritage Council, for his support and active presence this evening.
CONCLUSION AND THANKS
In conclusion, the Sandymount Village Design Statement has provided a successful example of how local people of all ages can become involved in local village planning and design matters, in order to enhance and revitalise their village’s unique ‘sense of place and identity’ and also to contribute to the formal planning and development system – the community in this wonderful, historic urban village is an important sustainable asset in the long-term – the future for Sandymount looks extremely bright!
It gives me great pleasure to formally launch the Sandymount Village Design Statement.